Having gone AWOL for the past four years after the lacklustre Beautiful-Garbage was badly received by critics and fans alike, Garbage have regrouped, taken stock...and come up with something that sounds exactly like their other records, only glossier. What you get in the main with Bleed Like Me is high sheen, over produced rock that seems tailor made for American radio. Overall there is little room for nuance or anything approaching rawness as each track segues into the other leaving as much of a lasting impression as footprints on a beach.
'Bad Boyfriend' kicks things off with the now familiar Manson themes of bad equals good when it comes to relationships. Her delivery and voice are as passionate and affecting as ever and it still retains the aching quality that made it appealing to begin with. It just can't cover up the deficiencies in the song writing department- musically "Bad Boyfriend" is a major dud.
Elsewhere 'Right Between The Eyes' shimmers with energy but again brings on a bout of mini amnesia. The single 'Why Do You Love Me' is overblown and faintly comical and 'Run Baby Run' while possessing some smart chiming guitar ultimately flatters to deceive.
The only other mentionable moments come in the form of 'Bleed Like Me' and 'Its All Over But', both take a more downbeat approach and both do justice to Manson's vocal talents. The former is acoustic based with flourishes of brass, the latter a piano led ballad. Manson's voice is at its best on these tracks and makes you wonder what the results would be like if she collaborated with some of the more esoteric producers around at the moment.
On the whole, Bleed Like Me sounds like a band that has run out of ideas and are relying on tried and tested techniques of the past to find inspiration. Unfortunately what worked in the past to conjure up such gems as 'Milk' and 'I'm Only Happy When It Rains' fails to produce anything of equal calibre and just leaves you with the impression that this is one LP too far for Garbage.