AOM Logo February 1999


Garbage: Version 2.0

Almo/Universal

Playing Time:49:40

Christopher Tocher

Garbage Version 2.0 Cover Image

The next time you are near your local CD merchant, drop in and check out the latest Garbage disc, Version 2.0. A new name for the band just may be in order! Version 2.0 finds Garbage’s music ripe and dripping but infinitely more palatable. Their Grammy nominated album is a bounty of unpredictability and is a sure bet to fill all your emotional needs. However, some punters may buy it for no other reason than to gaze lustfully upon the sultry Shirley Manson (is there a more femme puissant in popular music?).

Shirley Manson Photo

Very much the personification of the feline pop icon, Manson surpasses many of her colleagues in terms of performance style, lyrical ability, and rich, textured vocals - her raw passion is channeled directly into each song. Several tracks highlight her significant musical personality: listen to Push It for Manson’s ability to sustain notes with real bravura, while The Trick is to Keep Breathing displays her gentle way with lyrics - Manson sweeps and swoons quietly while the rest of the band maintain a hypnotic ostinato. Version 2.0 is worth its price for this track alone.

Garbage

The instrumentalists on Version 2.0 equal Manson’s efforts in expressing their unique musical personalities. There are only a few bands that could have so carefully constructed the many layers of thoughtful instrumental lines with such a creative edge. The method by which Garbage counterbalances these is rare. Neither musical line figures prominently on the album, rather, they work together in a cool syncopated pulse, which produces a superb result.

The recording quality is fine, but some advice is offered. You must listen to the album at a very generous volume. If you do not, the melodic and rhythm tracks tend to sound thin, with a resulting lack of dimension.

Any disappointments? Just one - art direction. My wise grandfather once observed that everything of quality involved structured thought. I am at a loss to describe the art direction and its lack of coherence. Maybe someone would care to explain the iridescent blue stalagmites inside the disc cover and the front’s vivid orange color (the blaring orange also percolates into the Garbage web site @ www.garbage.com). Creative, possibly, but is this another tiresome inside joke? This aside, the music remains, and Version 2.0 is a collection of ripe ‘n ready tunes that drip with musical intensity. A worthy purchase.

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