Failed States

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While not everyone will always agree with Propagandhi's world-view, no one can doubt their dedication to activism in the 20 years since they made their full-length debut with How to Clean Everything. On their sixth album, Failed States, it's clear that Propagandhi are still on a warpath of political and social awareness, and their increasingly thrash-influenced sound shows no signs that the fire in their bellies will be going out anytime soon. More amazing than their ability to stay engaged, however, is how much denser and more nuanced they are overall. Musically, Propagandhi have pulled off an amazing feat, adding bits and pieces of that classic skatepunk sound to their intricate and technical melodic thrash, allowing songs like "Rattan Cane" to go into a kind of intense musical sprint before opening up a little on the chorus. Lyrically, they have also continued to grow, making their songs a little less on the nose than early tracks like "Apparently I'm a P.C. Fascist (Because I Care About Both Human and Non-Human Animals)." The band gives the songs greater depth rather than always putting the message right there on the surface, and this change allows the listener to dive into the songs to really absorb and understand them. Even on songs where Propagandhi make their stance on an issue crystal-clear, there are still layers of meaning that can be discovered. On the surface a song like "Hadron Collision" may feel like it's about the environmental impact of cars versus bicycles, but there's an equally strong message about the freedom of not being tied to fossil fuels and the everyday joy that can be found in passive resistance. It's moments like these that set Propagandhi apart from the rest of the politically oriented pack, and it's a quality that will help them to keep getting their message out to the people who want (or perhaps need) to hear it.

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