Extreme makeover, garage rock edition

If Bugy Craxone harbored any desire to be Garbage (the band, not the refuse), it’s long in the past.

On its previous album, Northern Hymns, Bugy Craxone ditched the ’90s alt-rock smorgasborg of its first two albums for straight-ahead garage rock.

Despite being a fashionable move at the time — Northern Hymns was released in the same year the White Stripes crossed over — the creative direction suited the band.

And it’s one that works for them again on Sorry, I will scream here.

This time working on an indie budget after leaving major label Victor Entertainment, the band offers up a less polished, grittier sound. The mastering may sound a bit less powerful, but the performances are much harder.

“Why not?” is a steady three-minute barrage of power chords. The snarl that vocalist Suzuki Yukiko introduced the last time returns on “I’m sorry”, while on the concluding track, “I scream”, she does exactly that.

Some garage rock gestures are more apparent.

“Lucky” starts with the same kind of hesitant pulse as Television’s “Marquee Moon”. “Big mouth” shows off a swagger that’s pure rock ‘n’ roll — simple and deadpan.

Bugy Craxone doesn’t turn its back completly on the alt-rock anthems that powered the first half of its career.

With slightly different production, “11gatsu” and “Toosaku no Mori” could sound like they came off of the band’s second album, Yuganda Ao to Tsukenai Kanjoo no Soko.

The creative shift to a garage sound has had another effect on Bugy Craxone’s songs — brevity.

Sorry, I will scream here flies by at a brisk 32 minutes. The 9-minute “Furanii to Zoe” occupies nearly a third of the album’s length — the remaining two-thirds are spread out over 8 tracks.

That means an average of 3 minutes per song — the textbook length for a pop song. It also means songs with tighter structures and clearer ideas.

“Oto mo Hikari mo Nai Basho de Ugoku Koto wo Yameta Shin” was a great single for Bugy Craxone in 2000, but that title was a mouthful. And its 6 1/2-minute length is a far cry from the 2’44” of “I’m sorry” — both in content and length.

Bugy Craxone does a good job pursuing its extreme makeover on Sorry, I will scream here. It’s an album title that delivers on its promise.