Anyone who says ‘How To Clean Everything’ is Propagandhi‘s best album is a liar.
‘Supporting Caste’ is.
A big, bold statement I know, but this is the record that sets them out as the best band of their type and makes a mockery of Fat Wreck’s decision to show no interest in putting it out. It’s not as silly as the early stuff and not as fast as some of the more recent stuff. Sure, it’s still powerful and quick and full of riffage – ‘Dear Coach’s Corner’ has the most insane guitar licks at the outset – but it’s not just about the speed or guitars anymore. This is a more considered Propagandhi. It’s a band focused on writing killer songs as a whole; spreading the message lyrically, as always, but also doing things slightly, ever so slightly, different.
And it works. I’m sure some people will lament the lack of urgency at times and the fact the vocals are very, very melodic at others. But this sounds like a band growing into their own skin. When the time is right to push the pedal to the floor they do and they rock it as well as anyone. At others they take their time. It works. ‘Human(e) Meat’ is probably the most melodic rock song the band have ever written, although the guitar solo at the outro is so overblown it’s superb. There are still some fast and furious songs on here though. ‘This Is Your Life’ thrashes its way through a shade over a minute, while ‘Potemkin City Limits’ sounds like it would have belonged on the last record. ‘Night Matters’ and ‘Funeral Procession’ also have a fair bit of belt behind them.
Lyrically the band are still on top form and with Bill Stevenson’s production values making this sound sweet as a nut, you have an almost perfect package. I’ll be interested to see how people react to this. If you’re expecting a real thrash ’em up then you’ll perhaps be surprised. I, however, love it. There’s just enough of everything to make this one of the records of the year – and it’s only February.