Gary Flockhart: Shirley no mistake in Garbage

BEFORE we reach my verdict on the new album by Garbage, it should be known that I used to have a bit of a crush on Shirley Manson.

It started in the mid-90s when I saw the flame-haired singer prowling the stage like a caged tiger as her band made its first Scottish appearance at Barrowlands.

Alongside the plastic pop stars of the day, Stockbridge siren Shirley, with her don’t-mess-with-me attitude, stood out like a sore thumb.

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Sexy, sassy and strong, here was the alternative frontwoman who didn’t pull her punches - and she was impossibly cool to boot.

The Scottish-helmed, American-domiciled band have been away for seven years now, and when their new album arrived on my desk I had mixed feelings.

On one hand, I didn’t want to play it, because I hate seeing a once great band raging against the dying of the light when, really, they ought to give up.

On the other hand, I was intrigued to hear it.

The first thing to say is that Not Your Kind Of People is no great departure from the signature sound that made the band global stars - it’s trademark Garbage.

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The album gets off to a flyer with Automatic Systematic Habit, Shirley sounding seductive and menacing as she promises a love cheat that she won’t be his “dirty little secret”. Elsewhere, Blood For Poppies and Battle In Me bear all the hallmarks of classic Garbage.

Those are the standouts but, truth told, there’s not a dud to be had over the 11 tracks on the new album.

That Shirley Manson crush? It might be simmering just below the surface.