Thursday, October 27, 2005
CD Review: Propaghandi - Potemkin City Limits
When most people tell you they disagree with you, but they'll defend your right to say what's on your mind you've got to figure they don't really mean it. Well I'm here to let you know that I disagree with most of the lyrical content of Propaghandi's new Fat Wreck Chords disc Potemkin City Limits, but the music rocks and if I was still doing radio I'd damn sure play it on the air. Their unholy meld of punk rock thrash melodics with prog rock is an energetic and inviting assault to the senses whether you agree with the politically charged polemics or not.
Before we go over Propaghandi's politics how about an explanation of the album title. The term "Potemkin village" comes from an apocryphal story about this Russian dude Potemkin who made up a bunch of fake village facades to impress Catherine The Great as she went by once. Since then the term has come to mean any false construct, especially in a political context, meant to hide something bad. Sounds like normal politics to me.
Politics to Propaghandi are to the left. The Ward Churchill quotes inside are a dead giveaway. There are little quotes scattered throughout the lyrics booklet with the best being the famous lines of Ralph from Friday The XIII "You're All Doomed" which was included on the same page with the words from "Superbowl Patriot XXXVI" which manages to take a potshot at that beloved knight Sir Paul McCartney. His performance did leave something to be desired didn't it?
The album begins with "A Speculative Fiction" which posits a scenario where Canadians (Propaghandi are from Winnipeg) kick America's ass. Note to Propaghandi: it would never work. A few bombs during hockey season would do you guys in. Joking aside, they can stay pissed at the United States forever as long as they keep rocking this hard. Lyrics like "We both profess noble intent as we civilize human impediments" from "Fixed Frequencies" or "Really, it's not so much the incessant ruse of assigning profound meaning to the meaningless curios" from "Fedellah's Hearse" may read clunkily on the page, but the band comes off like a thrash Manic Street Preachers once the music is cued up. There's also a weird echo of Anthrax contained in the din. I'll admit to being ignorant to who Fedellah was, but the song kicks ass.
"Bringer Of Greater Things" seems to be about some issue with the Saskatoon Police. "America's Army (Die Jugend Marschiert)" is about how the government owns everyone's children. The lyric booklet has a reference to Ender's Game at the top. It's a great read, and I highly recommend it. America as big bully seems to pop up often like on "Name And Address Withheld". The funniest line on the album comes from "Rock For Sustainable Capitalism"; in reference to the WARP Tour's bands - "Hope they ship all those shitty bands overseas like they did the factories". I find their railing about music being bought and sold amusing as hell. I hope you do to when the cashier is giving you your change after after purchased Potemkin City Limits.
Posted by Wally Bangs