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CD Review: Propaghandi – Potemkin City Limits

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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.

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About Wally

  • A Canadian

    My dear misinformed American, have you ever heard about the War of 1812, or Benedict Arnold’s or the Orangemens failed invasions? Oh course not, your a Yank so you only get history that has been sanctioned by Disney. Here’s a hint, in the war of 1812 we burnt down your Whitehouse and at the time it was painted grey. Nice education system we have up here eh? ( eh only being used for humourous purposes of course) we even learn your history although you don’t learn your own.

    A military action against Canada has yet to and will never work for two simple reasons. 1. Just like in Vietnam, and Iraq your military might is barely affectual against small independent cells of guerillas. And that would be our only option of course. and 2. We look and sound the same as you and have a huge barely monitored border, it would take little effort to infiltrate your country, blend in and start throwing wrenches in your machine.

    Watch your mouth, your foot might fall out of it.

  • Tom

    Dude,”a canadian” is a bad ass!!! i also disagree with wally bangs review. oh man the witty insults I could dish out with a last name like that. “a canandian” speaks truth. I guarentee wallace has never even left the “homeland” in his life. you sure do got that american spirit wallace!!! why are you even reviewing propagandhi. in my opinion your not worthy.” I stand by not by my country, but the people of the whole fucking world.”

  • http://www.pippensqueak.blogspot.com gypsyman

    The above two comments prove that Canadians can be just as stupid as everyone else. Bless our beady little eyes. Think I’m moving to Greenland.

    gypsyman

  • owen

    gypsyman perhaps you should try justfying your opinion like the two ‘stupid’ comments above you did, Perhaps you’d be doing your country, not yourself, a favour by moving to greenland.

  • A Canadian

    Hell no Gypsyman. I have friends and Family in Greenland (not even kidding), stay out.

    Being Bad feels sooooo good

  • another canadia

    oh why oh why do my fellow countrymen pride themselves on being the proverbial backseat driver to the united states?…you brag that you learn american history when americans don’t learn ours?…i think to some degree that underlines the immediate international relevance of our particular nation’s (and their’s) in the world political landscape and not much else

    so far as 1812, that was in fact before our independence…not to mention that the canadian militias used did not reach washington, dc…the british did…

    “wally bang” does not in any way defame canada, as his remark was clearly in jest…you defame canada by lacking a sense of humour…that is, in fact, our most precious export

    so far as war with america goes, what a ridiculous position to take…let’s rather hope that america doesn’t start ANY more wars, or anyone else for that matter…being that this is a bit too optimistic to be realistic, let’s at least understand that canadian resisitance would not equal iraqi OR vietnamese…you truly sound like a child…in fact, i’m assuming you’re about 18

    this album is amazing, by the way…i notice that no one besides wally has mentioned that…and i don’t agree with all of the politics either…but again, i believe that much of it is written in a slightly sardonic tone

    much love to all here, even the most confused

    -stan

  • a canadian

    Way to take the high road and still take childish shoots as well (because ageism isn’t another form of bigotry at all and anyone of the age you insulted reading that likely feels real good about themselves and/or you after), you are leading by example Stanley and we’ll follow you back into the breach. Sorry that I got mean but when people talk about bombing us I can’t help but be insulted. I unlike many, know and love the fact that I am an utter prick, I hold no delusions of superior morals, behaviour, gramar or spelling. I may be a prick but at least I can admit it princess, that was hypocracy in case you didn’t noitice.

    And yes the album is beyond brilliance, best thing I have heard since Strike Anywhere’s Exit English.

    Sincerly me

  • mike

    canadian,
    i am a dick too, and i also like this album as well as strike anywhere’s album. no one is going to bomb canada, so calm down. you guys make great beer, funny comedians, and no one even gives a shit to go freeze their ass off up there long enough to bomb you so just chill the fuck out.

  • a canadian

    Okay sorry, I’ll go back to smoking our potent weed.

  • mike

    yeah, i forgot about that too. us here in washington state are very grateful for that too.

  • mw

    hey. i was wondering 2 things:

    1) does anyone know who the “fucking jack-ass mohawked millionaire” is from the song rock for sustainable capitalism, and what video they are talking about?

    2) does anyone know the anything about him calling out fat mike on a record that fat mike paid to put out? that is the raddest thing i have ever heard. i like nofx and all, but that was sweet.

  • andrew

    If I’m not mistaken, the mohawked millionaire could be Tim Armstrong..

  • a canadian

    It’s either Tim or Lars. Lars was in an anti-racist (or Traditional skin, as they call it) gang. Some of the tats on his face mean that he has maimed someone in a permentant manner. As for the Fat Mike thing, hell yeah and cuddos to Mr. I’m not really that fat, for having an ego and sense of humour we can all admire.

    and yes our weed rules, enjoy it if you can find it my Yankee friend and smoke it with me if you come up here.

    peas pipe

  • Craig

    All I got to say is this.

    See how weed can bring us together. This is what they are affraid of. They (our governements) are against unity. They are riligious fundamentalists, fighting religious fundametalisim.

    We should all just have a peace pipe!

    Oh and BTW im going to see them OCT30 for the third time, and I feel like im about to loose my virginity. Im soooo excited.

  • adam

    THe fat assed mohawk millionare refers to fat mike from nofx