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Album review: Garbage’s ‘Strange Little Birds’

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Two and a half stars

Garbage Strange Little Birds

When Garbage returned after a seven-year hiatus with 2012’s Not Your Kind of People, it was refreshing to hear the ’90s alt-rockers essentially unchanged, perfectly recapturing their classic sound with slight variations. Hearing that again on Strange Little Birds isn’t quite as refreshing; now it’s the sound of a veteran band churning out more of the same, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Fans who welcomed the band back on People will find plenty to like here, including catchy, energetic songs like “Empty,” “Magnetized” and “We Never Tell,” all of which sound like vintage Garbage and will fit solidly alongside their past hits on tour.

Aside from moody, atmospheric industrial-sounding opener “Sometimes,” everything on Birds is a familiar take on the band’s mix of rock guitars and electronics, plus Shirley Manson’s gloomy lyrics and sensuous vocals. That mix has worked well for 20 years now, and it’s hard to blame the band for not wanting to change it.

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