Label: Fat Wreck Chords/G7 Welcoming Committee
This isn’t a new album, but there were vicious rumours surrounding its release. Since I had not looked into the matter previously, I felt that it was about time I did. What rumours are these, you ask? When released in late 2005, Potemkin City Limits bore the strange name of Glen Lambert on lead vocals. Where was Chris Hannah, much-loved frontman? He’d quit two years earlier, according to the band, and was replaced by Glen. This was something I’d heard, learned to accept, but been greatly saddened by. I’d seen Prop play during the G8 protest in Calgary, and it was one of the defining moments of my life. The rumour might well be the reason I put off buying the album. I shouldn’t have been so stupid!
Chris Hannah has gone nowhere, and I knew this after listening to the first song. Prop is still the same, still lyrically brilliant and still churning out great riffs. The fact is that I spent the entire twelve tracks just being relieved that the band was still together. What a disaster that could have been! A world without Propagandhi is unthinkable. I am immensely happy to have realized that such a world still doesn’t exist.
As for the album, well, I’m not particularly impressed. I mean, this is a band capable of fantastic tunes like “Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes.” Why should I let them get away with anything less than that? My main problem with these songs is that I was unable to make out a single word. Now I’m not unused to having to look up Prop lyrics, and I’ve got nothing against doing it. But the exercise should be supplementary. Without comprehending a single word, it’s tough to love a song that isn’t musically top-notch, and these are unfortunately not.
I couldn’t rate the album without figuring out the words, so I had a dig around the Internet and pulled up the missing words. As usual, great. There has been no loss in the lyrics department, that’s for sure. The usual rant against Americanism in our homeland follows:
The burned out shells of south-bound traffic lay strewn across a cold stretch of would-be interstate. Still visible below their charred remains: Pax Americana plates. Your stupid fucking laser-pucks were just the start.
Nicely put. I do like this album, but it’s not the greatest. What this has really accomplished, at least for me, is the confirmation that Chris Hannah is still the angry activist frontman. The words are still there, despite a musical letdown. That is essentially the sprit of Propagandhi, so I’ll let it go. Buy this album, but be sure to read the words while you’re listening, otherwise you’ll miss the whole point.