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Garbage - 'Version 2.0'
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Garbage comprises three American musician-producers (Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig) and alluring Scottish singer, Shirley Manson. While Butch Vig was best known for having produced Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage had its origins in the radical remixes the three muso-producers were reconstructing for bands like Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. From there it was a short step to their own original material. They chose Shirley Manson as their lead singer after they, by chance, had seen the only MTV performance of her unsuccessful band Angel Fish.

Her recruitment sounds like a product being mail-ordered after a late night TV "wait there's more" advertisement. But she isn't a puppet. She has fashioned a powerful and subversive image. A feisty street urchin evolved into a charismatic post-feminist star. She is not conventionally pretty. But she is very sexy. And powerful. Earthy, flawed, a real woman - the polar opposite of the silicone perfection of Pamela Anderson. Her image and dark, intense vocals helped sell four million copies of Garbage's 1995 debut album.

This highly anticipated follow-up was painstakingly created during a full year in the recording studio. Songs quote (with permission) from different periods of pop history, including the Beach Boys, Salt-N-Pepa and the Pretenders, but are very much the band's own. To some extent, 'Version 2.0' has the familiar sound of their debut album - a multi-layered science fiction soundscape of rhythms, samples, loops, riffs and harmonies. But it is not as dark as the first album, and is poppier. The peaks probably aren't as high, but it is more consistent. There are also some new touches such as the cello and violin on 'Medication' or the simpler, atmospheric sound of 'The Trick Is To Keep Breathing', titled after the novel about depression by Scottish writer Janice Galloway. Underneath the dense dozens of audio tracks used to create the music, this is an excellent album of well written melodic songs, such as the first single, 'Push It' as well as the great 'Special' and 'You Look So Fine'. One of the albums of the year.

Farell Russak 8/10

others in the REVIEWS

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

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