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Strange Little Birds

Nineties alt-rock icons go heavy on the dark stuff, and it’s great

Garbage Strange Little Birds Album Review

Shirley Manson continues to play Nineties alt-rock diva on Garbage's sixth album, 'Strange Little Birds'.

The sixth Garbage album could’ve been released in 1995. Yet it’s still totally relevant; singer Shirley Manson’s brooding edge and producer-drummer Butch Vig’s mix of sheer guitar buzz and moody industrial texture stake their claim as forebears to artists like Sky Ferreira and even Lana Del Rey. Manson plays the coolly mysterious alt-rock diva, raging against her demons on knotty anthems like “Empty” and “We Never Tell,” and on bleary creepers like “Night Drive Loneliness.” The left-field pop of Nineties hits like “#1 Crush” has been pulled back, but that’s fine. What’s left is an august, hardboiled vitality.

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