[HOT TRACK]Scavenging the Rubbish Bin

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[HOT TRACK]Scavenging the Rubbish Bin

"I can't wait to hear Garbage's new album; other rock groups these days are all worthless," said Kim Yun-a, the vocalist of the local rock band Jaurim. After listening to Garbage's recently released "Beautiful Garbage," however, Kim might want to rethink that outburst - not because the new album can be lumped in the worthless category, but because it strays too far from her and other fans' expectations.

Formed in 1994, Garbage, fronted by the vocalist Shirley Manson, originally touted its sound as anti-alternative. Its music found favor with fans who had tired of the overdone alternative rock scene and yearned to hear more experimental sounds. The drummer Butch Vic, who produced Nirvana's "Nevermind," founded the band along with his lifelong friends Steve Marker, who plays guitar and bass, and Duke Erikson, who plays guitar and keyboards. The trio discovered Manson in Scotland, and decided that her explosive, versatile and charismatic voice went well with their music. Combining influences from Depeche Mode, U2 and Nine Inch Nails, Garbage's 1995 debut album earned critical acclaim and wide popularity.

"We want to use all these different elements and mix them all up around a pop song," Vic once said to describe Garbage's original formula. But things changed on the second album, "Version 2.0," when the band jumped on the techno bandwagon wholesale. After recording the title track for the "The World Is Not Enough" (1998) soundtrack, Garbage is now looking backward for its influences. "Beautiful Garbage" focuses more on creating foot-tapping ditties than breaking new ground. The new album's opening track, "Shut Your Mouth," joins the ranks of the few Garbage songs that can be called soporific. Then the annoyingly soggy intro to the third track, "Can't Cry These Tears," stands as a huge waste of Manson's vocal talent. Manson seeks to emulate girl bands from the 1960s in "Cherry Lips," and succeeds to some degree - but the overall effect pales compared with her inspired efforts on earlier albums. Though Garbage still manages to retain traces of its signature attractive and bewitching sound, the new release falls short of what many die-hard Garbage fans had anticipated. Even though some of this stuff belongs in the nearest rubbish bin, there is still hope that Garbage hasn't completely lost its touch.

Garbage can be beautiful, but the band should keep piece of advice in mind: recycle it if you can.

by Chun Su-jin

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