Propagandhi is a band that actually seems like they are sincerely trying to change the world through their music, and just as importantly want you to try as well. Just one read through Less Talk, More Rock’s liner notes will back that statement. The Canadian trio’s second album moves a little away from the more fun and satire themed debut How To Clean Everything in place for some strict lectures against homophobia, racism, animal cruelty, poverty, sexism and just about any other injustice that still goes on. Yeah, sounds a bit preachy right? But preaching never sounded as good. Propagandhi’s ingenious sense of humor and biting wit can still be found here as well, though sometimes subtly (other times not so much). Less Talk, More Rock sits in between of the catchier sound of their debut and the heavier, thrash influenced sound of their next album Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes and finds a good middle ground.
The album itself is so more than simply the instruments; it’s a statement as a whole, but Propagandhi can rock harder than most punk bands when they want to. Less Talk, More Rock is a riff-heavy album with some melody thrown in, even more so on bassist John K Samson’s songs. One of the heaviest songs on the album, Rio De San Atlanta, Manitoba
, is a thirty nine second romp that tackles issues such as poverty within cities and contains lyrics like “Murderers walk our streets and their weapons are their pens, desks, policies and P.R. campaigns”. Other’s like Resisting Tyrannical Government
and the title track bring the tempo down slightly and let the lyrics take focus. The State-Lottery
, which opens with a Noam Chomsky speech, is a more serious toned song that is a good example of the heavier side of the record.
The ideas on the record might be a little overwhelming to some at first, the band even says so themselves, so to take a little break from the politically charged songs are two tracks written by bassist John K Samson. Anchorless
, both sung by Samson, possess a much lighter feel and lyrics that deal more with emotions and poetry, much in the same vein that Samson would take after leaving the band to form The Weakerthans the following year (a cover of Anchorless appears on Fallow, their first album). Both are highlight songs.
The album opens right away with a message getting sensed in the opening track. Apparently I’m a PC Fascist...
is song that compresses a good majority of their ideals into one song making for a good start. The title track is a more mid-tempo tune with a clear anti-homophobia statement. The album overall has consistent quality in songs with the exception of the brief but interesting ‘intermission’ (it’s hardly a song) in the middle of the record, A Public Dis-Service Announcement from Shell
which was taken from “Clear Thinking in Troubled Times” from the Winnipeg Free Press in 1995. The Only Good Fascist Is a Very Dead Fascist
is a blatant attack against fascism while A People's History of the World
does the same with the economy and education system. Resisting Tyrannical Government
shows Propagandhi’s intellect in balancing humor with a message with the analogy of hockey and politics with lyrics like “Yeah, Jesus saves! Gretzky scores! The workers slave, the rich get more, one wrong move and we risk the cup so play the man, not the puck”.
Less Talk, More Rock has few flaws. Lyrically their intelligence and knowledge show but instrumentally the band has done better technically, which the band would top with later albums. But that seems trivial as the album is full of powerful, at times catchy riffs and bass lines, and drumming better than most in the genre, not to mention Chris’ dominant vocals. Not only is Less Talk, More Rock one kick ass punk record but you can maybe learn a few things or two from this one as well, as listed in the notes are various sources of activist organizations (portion of album proceeds go to four different organizations) and periodicals. This album, and each of Propagandhi’s other three, show that they are leagues ahead of their punk contemporaries.