Propagandhi – ‘Victory Lap’

By Liam Knowles

Propagandhi have been on the political punk warpath for just over three decades now, and whilst many of their peers have either calmed right down or dropped off the face of the earth altogether, these Canadian power players are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

The band wastes no time tackling current events with the title track; a three minute juggernaut attacking political apathy and alt-right excuse making that hits as hard lyrically as it does musically. The line “say not all cops, say not all men, yeah you insist it’s only 99%. There’s nothing left for you to learn, ok sit back relax and watch it all burn” shows that, despite being among the old guard of the genre, Propagandhi still have their finger on the pulse of the current political climate.

There’s not a single track on ‘Victory Lap’ where punches are pulled. ‘Comply/Resist’ is a scathing account of institutionalised racism, set to a thrashing skate punk soundtrack. ‘Lower Order (A Good Laugh)’ is the poppiest track on the album, and sarcastically deals with indifferent attitudes and the blissful ignorance many people live in when it comes to the slaughter of animals for food. Every track has a message. That’s always been Propagandhi’s strength, and this album is no different. They even go as far as to sample Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” line on closer ‘Adventures In Zoochosis’, and the sample itself fades in from the sounds of children playing; the juxtaposition of these two sounds a chilling reminder of the unsettling world we currently live in.

Despite the band very much wearing their personal and political stance on their sleeve, ‘Victory Lap’ never feels preachy, and is instead very clearly the creation of a group of passionate and intelligent individuals with strong opinions. Chris Hannah’s articulate lyrics are backed up by his fervent delivery, and it’s clear that he hasn’t lost any vitriol in his 30 years fronting this band. If anything, he’s become better at putting it into words. The riffs are still as technical as ever; a lot of punk bands with a strong message would keep things simple musically to make room for this, but not Propagandhi. The drums hammer at a breakneck pace around time changes and off-kilter rhythms that put many younger bands to shame.

Essentially, there isn’t a single aspect of this record that feels phoned in. Instead it is clear that the band refuse to let any element be anything less than at its maximum potential. A victory lap is well deserved, because this album is an absolute home run. Still hitting hard, still taking names, still leaving their peers in the dust. Here’s to many more years of Propagandhi.

 

LIAM KNOWLES

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