Saturday, 23rd June 2018. 3:20:17pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Garbage- Bleed like Me

 


Artist: Garbage
CD Title: Bleed Like Me
Label: Geffen
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 4/22/05

It's been nearly a decade since Garbage first burst onto the scene with their brilliant self-titled debut. With each successive album, however, the band's sound has grown more overproduced and mechanical. I suppose that's the risk you take when you form a band with three producers. Now, after a somewhat fuzzy and apparently short-lived breakup, they're back with Bleed Like Me, a return to form that plays like something of an edgier streamlined version of the electronic-infused rock/pop of their debut. The result is a 45-minute mammoth of an album that is arguably the band's best.

A lot of the tracks here drop the electro-rock guise of previous outings for all-out alt rock. The grungy "Bad Boyfriend" is a slice of sleazy rock that comes off like something of a more raucous rendition of "Queer". Alternately, the more polished and melodic "Run Baby Run", one of the best tracks on the disc, is somewhat reminiscent of Machina-era Smashing Pumpkins with its alternapop verse and epic, infectious chorus. "Right Between the Eyes" almost recalls Hole's Celebrity Skin album with its layered vocals and guitar-driven, heavy yet poppy delivery. The disc's lead single, "Why Do You Love Me?", ups the bpm for an energetic, loud rock romp that's certainly memorable. "Sex is Not the Enemy", another of the disc's definite standouts, is pure bouncy, noisy alterna-pop with a clear Elastica influence, full of catchy guitar hooks. "Why Don't You Come Over" is another upbeat, energetic number with choppy guitars and an angst-ridden "fuck you" from Ms. Manson.

Despite the album's rock-oriented slant, there are a few tracks that tip the scales in a more electronic direction. However, the distinction is usually blurred. For instance, "Metal Heart", the disc's most dance-oriented electro-rock track, arguably rocks out harder than anything else on the entire album, providing the audio equivalent of caffeine. "Boys Wanna Fight" throws a number of electronica/dub elements into the killer guitar rock mix with an excellent chorus hook complete with wailing lead guitar.

While one might think the disc's mellower ballads would create something of a lull in what is, otherwise, an up-tempo rock album, they are also spectacular. In fact, the closing "Happy Home" is easily one of the album's best, with an almost PJ Harvey-esque simple mellow rock delivery. "Bleed Like Me", reportedly the album's second single, is a mellow, organic, down-tempo, bass-heavy number with a bit of a Lou Reed thing going on. "It's All Over but the Crying" rounds things out as the disc's true ballad, a beautiful piano-centered, string-accented melodic downer.

As a whole, Bleed Like Me is everything an alt rock album should be. It's full of emotional highs and lows. It has plenty of angst and energy. It has more than enough infectious pop hooks and melodies to have you singing along and dancing the first time you listen to it but also more than enough substance to back it up through repeated listens. Garbage fans disappointed with the fluffier electronic pop direction of Beautiful Garbage will likely be ecstatically surprised, while alt rock fans in general will find a formidable, exceptionally solid and powerful electronic-infused rock outing that's easily one of the best albums released so far this year.


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