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garbage nogodsnomasters
Artist: Garbage
Title: No Gods No Masters
Genre: Alt Rock
Release Date: 11th June 2021
Label: ADA / Warner

Album Review

GARBAGE is one of those bands that manage to be truly massive without you really noticing. Over 17 million records sold, and I bet you’ve only got one, yes? You know, that one with ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ on it. Or maybe you’ve got that James Bond Theme one. What’s it called… the James Bond Theme one? And yet everyone seems to know Shirley Manson, Scottish, ex-GOODBYE MR MACKENZIE, and lead singer. Butch Vig - A-list producer, and noted drummer - wanted to put together a band with a female lead, looking more for Patti Smith than Courtney Love, and found the perfect foil in Manson, her sometimes deadpan and dry singing style a match for the intelligent, sarcastic and knowing adult Pop-Rock of the songs. And then followed big albums, big sales, big tours and the odd splitting up and getting back together again.

And here they are again, a long way from the comfort-zone of those early 90s days, and yet still revered and whispered about with genuine affection amongst those seemingly in the know. Can they justify such accolades in 2021… new album ‘No Gods No Masters’, a telling title if ever there was one, sets out to answer that. Is it me, or does opening song ‘The Men Who Rule The World’ sound like THE SPICE GIRLS going political - like someone with loads of money wrote some lyrics about how bad, like, money is, and then decided to throw a bit of fuzzy guitar in to make it edgy. Hmmmmm. ‘The Creeps’ is a sugar-rush of pogoing zaniness, a whirl of hyperactivity, that will either hook you in or repel you, definitely depending on how DEVO you are feeling that day. And then there’s complete contrast on the slow fuzz of ‘Uncomfortably Me’, vocals to the fore, this one worming its way into your psyche after only half a listen.

Things certainly never settle into predictable - the straight up synth-pop of ‘Wolves’ goes all wonky and kooky by the chorus, ‘Waiting For God’ skulks along in a shadow it nicely creates for itself, and ‘Godhead’ is all dancefloor swagger, menacing whispers giving way to seductive vocals, blasts of guitar shot through the busy bluster. ‘Anonymous XXX’ and ‘Flipping The Bird’ are pleasant enough yet fairly forgettable, but ‘A Woman Destroyed’ is bluesy, dark and frankly sinister. TORI AMOS could have had fun with this, round about the time of ‘Little Earthquakes’. The title track seems to aim for some 80’s vibe and just sounds like BERLIN on an off-day, and final track ‘This City Will Kill You’ goes all grown-up and slow-burn, trotting off gently into the sunset, despite the subject matter.

What you are left with - and this has always been the GARBAGE conundrum - is a set of songs that all seem very accomplished, from the writing and performance to the production and presentation, but somehow lacking in warmth. It all feels strangely manufactured, as though it’s being expertly project managed, constructed rather than grown organically. And perhaps that’s their secret really - you go out into the forest and there’s a brand new, architect designed, fabulous house sat amongst the trees. You don’t know how it got there, but it seems to fit right in.


01. The Men Who Rule The World
02. The Creeps
03. Uncomfortably Me
04. Wolves
05. Waiting For God
06. Godhead
07. Anonymous XXX
08. A Woman Destroyed
09. Flipping The Bird
10. No Gods No Masters
11. This City Will Kill You


Shirley Manson – Vocals / Guitar / Keyboards
Duke Erikson – Guitar / Bass / Keyboards
Steve Marker – Guitar / Keyboards
Butch Vig – Drums / Percussion

Website /

Cover Picture

garbage nogodsnomasters


Music: 7
Sound: 7
Total: 7 / 10

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