Garbage are back – stomping their way into the charts with their long awaited seventh studio album, No Gods No Masters. Co-produced by the band and their longtime collaborator, Billy Bush, the album is their first since 2016’s Strange Little Birds.
The band kick off proceedings with ’The Men Who Rule the World’ – the albums striking lead single that offers the perfect blend of funky riffs and thunderous percussion, alongside frontwoman Shirley Manson’s distinctive vocals as she sings about the misogyny, sexism and racism that is evident around the world. The five piece continue the punk rock theme with ’The Creeps’, before slowing the pace down for potentially the most personal track on the record, ‘Uncomfortably Me’, which addresses Manson’s need for approval; “always the wallflower, never the sports star”.
‘Wolves’ and ‘Godhead’ both boast impeccable guitar work and warping synths, with Manson’s hushed, chilled vocals on the latter introducing the first dash of intensity to the record; an intensity that’s matched on several other tracks, including the sombre ‘Waiting For God’ – written about the epidemic of police violence against African Americans and inclusive of rumbling low tone synths and ghostly keyboard, it’s certainly one of the albums stand out tracks.
It’s incredible to see the eclectic range of styles peppered throughout the record, particularly when you go from the almost acoustic, trumpet fused ‘Anonymous XXX’ to the menacing intro of ‘A Woman Destroyed’. Perhaps surprising to some, the album possesses several sombre offerings – the breezy ‘Flipping The Bird’ for example – despite its tongue in cheek lyrics, the tracks light electric guitar melody and carefree nature evoke an almost Summery vibe.
As singles dropped in the months leading to the albums release, it was deemed to be both an anti-male and politically charged record, but it’s so much more than that – it’s an anti-power record that perfectly exemplifies the current state of the world that we’re living in. Garbage have well and truly achieved the impossible with No Gods No Masters – creating an album that’s both confrontational and vulnerable at the same time.