Jul 08, 2021
By Andy Von Pip
There was a time when Garbage sounded like the future with their industrial-tinged arena-sized electro grunge pop. The world has finally caught up and on their seventh studio album, No Gods No Masters, Garbage sound very much like a band of the now. It’s unquestionably up there with some of their finest work, as the band look to slay the sacred cows of religion, the patriarchy, as well as addressing inequality, greed, and climate change. Frontwoman Shirley Manson sounds as vital as ever and the album’s opening lines—“The men who rule the world/Have made a fucking mess/The history of power/The worship of success”—is a pretty unequivocal statement and sets the tone for most of what’s to come. No Gods No Masters is a beguiling mix of melody, politically charged lyrics, searing guitars, dramatic synth flourishes, and driving percussion.
Whilst there’s plenty of raging against the injustices of the world, Manson also shows her vulnerability on tracks like “The Creeps,” which was initially written way back in 2009 as a response to being dropped by her label, Interscope. There’s the beautiful “Uncomfortably Me,” which speaks about self-doubt and seeking the approval of people you have little respect for, just to fit in. “Wolves” is classic Garbage demonstrating their innate ability to craft futuristic dystopian doom pop, whilst “Waiting For God” addresses the endemic racism in America where “black boys get shot in the back.” Elsewhere Garbage tackle religion on “Godhead” as Manson whispers, “Would you deceive me if I had a dick?/Would you know it/Would you blow it?” The album’s soaring title track re-imagines a society free of greed and corruption.
You could perhaps argue that some of the messages contained within No Gods No Masters aren’t exactly nuanced, however Manson and co. would perhaps reason the time for subtly is a ship that has long since sailed. Indeed if you’re going to advocate dismantling the patriarchy and challenge inequity then getting in people’s faces is a far more effective technique than employing deferential diplomacy. After 30 years in the game, No Gods No Masters demonstrates Garbage still have plenty to say. And they do so with style, swagger, and verve. (www.garbage.com)
Author rating: 8/10
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