Up to this album, I’d never fully gotten into Propagandhi. Basically, you could read their covers and know exactly what the album was about: gay-positive, animal-friendly, etc. These are views that I essentially agree with, but sentiments I’d heard much more compellingly by the political heavy hitters like Noam Chomsky, Emma Goldman, and Howard Zinn. And when I listened to their albums, Propagandhi was okay. Definitely not as banal lyrically as Face to Face, but the music itself – essentially pop punk – left me neither a fan nor an antagonist of the band. I liked ’em more than Fifteen. Hell, at least they didn’t treat their fans like idiots and talk down to them. But I think Moral Crux did a better job asking for a riot while chewing through bubblegum pop songs. Well, with “Today’s Empires,” that’s all changed. This album is fantastic; the lyrics are hyper intelligent, cogent, and literate. The attacks are focused. Their previously ham-fisted platitudes are pocketed for syringe attacks filled with acid that burns onto the small patches of exposed neck of corporate and governmental graft, providing small windows into Propagandhi’s very real world of active, perpetual rebellion. The music matches the cacophony and gets about as fast as you can get while retaining a melody. Seething of speedmetal, the entire album sounds like it’s surrounded by barbed wire, like these ideas were made in an interment camp or they’re already illegal by committing the crime of thought contrary to popularized Disney-fied belief. Whatever happened to them in the last five years since “Less Talk, More Rock,” has made me an unabashed fan.
–todd (Fat, PO Box 193690, SF, CA 94119-3690)