I have very mixed feelings about this record, in some ways I wish to give it a superb rating, and in other ways I want to give it an average. There are some brilliant messages, and some weak messages within, aswell as some powerful music and some weak music. Propagandhi have always claimed to be a progressive thrash band, and not a punk band. I dont know why they feel to let us know this so often, punk rock isn't so bad, and I dont think that this is true of them until they recorded 'Today's empires, tomorrow's ashes', this sounds like a fast paced punk rock record, and its all the better for it.
The first two tracks on this record are of a similar pace, and flow into each other well. The twangy bass comes in, with a thrashy punk rock riff plays over the top. With Chris' brilliant polemic lyrics rasping defiantley over the top. ''You can feign ignorance, but your not stupid, your just selfish.'' He certainly has a great way with words, making you feel stupid for doing the things you do, and feeling that you SHOULD be doing something, and you SHOULD feel bad for not doing anything. However, for those firmly in the right or left against what Propagandhi believe, this will probably make you annoyed, and feel anger that some Canadian is telling you what to do. I dont sit too well with most political ideals, so I did not feel that uncomfortable, it reassured me that my choices towards a harmless and virtuous life had been good ones. ''Consider someone else, stop consuming animals.'' Is the genral message to 'Nailing Discartes to the wall / liquid meat is still murder', these first two songs, which are focused on thier firm animal friendly stance, this is met with intelligent lyrics, which is uncommon for most of the animal friendly punk rock bands I have heard, who dont seem to know nearly as much.
The title track ''less talk, more rock'' has a very different message altogether, which is a rhetoric against the thugish and homophobic attitude of many hardcore kids and punks, who lets them know half way through, that if they enjoy this song, they are celebrating his sexuality. This is a good message to convey, as homophobia needs to be recognised as the immature and hateful thing it is, and Chris's piss take of them is a step in the right direction, since then, other bands have taken the same stance, such as leftover crack.
Anchorless has the bassists Todd ''The Rod'' singing instead, his voice is of a much lighter tone to Chris' not dissimilar to John Feldmann's pop punk vocal's, but thses are even cleaner. This song is a break in the pace for the album, but not a bad one, sometimes when Im not in the mood to slow down, I will skip this track, but most of them time I listen to records from start to end, and this makes that easier to do.
Rio San Atlanta, Manitoba is another fast thrashy song, with a great intro, it is even faster than the first two tracks, the lyrics are concerned with the class war movement, lead to this being a very short powerful angry burst.
The next track is another welcome break in fast paced thrash, A public dis-service announcement from shell is just that, a recording of a shell spokesperson sometimes using shameless rhetoric, sometimes coming across as foolish, and often lying through his teeth make for this for an entertaining listen. The next track ''...and we thought that nation-states were a bad idea'' is alot like a retort to this statement, and an expression of distaste at the social imbalance that companies like shell promote. This one actually has backing vocals from The Rod for the first time on the record, railing together against workers treatment.
I was a pre-teen McCarthyist, is a good track, Chris admits to having been a proud right winger in his youth, that he wrote a patriotic song, and got to see a helicopters gatling gun. He uses this as a statement against McCarthyism, because he believes that right wing movements are childish and immature, and thier supporters should grow up the same as him. The lyrics about the realisation that the gatling gun was eventually used to kill people is striking.
''Why dont we all strap bombs to our chests, and ride our bikes to the next G7 picnic'', this song challenges violent protest, that the evolution and spreading of thier ideals should not happen violently, as a war, that the ideas should be accepted on thier own terms. The unusual analogy of the anarchist struggle with that of a hockey game (thay are Canadian after all), encouraging people to ''play the man, not the puck'' this means to challenge the status quo, not to play the status quo for personal gain.
''And yes I recognise the irony that the very system I oppose affords me the luxury of biting the hand that feeds,. But that's exactly why privaliged ***s like me should feel obliged to whine and kick and scream - until everyone has everything they need.''
This is a great intelligent retort at the end of ''Resisting Tyrannical Government'', to all those who dont feel the need to challenge the status quo, just because they are on top, at someone elses expence.
The only good facists is a very dead facist, is, in my opinion the best track on the record. The lyrics and message are much more simple, but a very important one. Racism is still experienced by people of all colours, and is believed in by people of all colours. People of all colours need to end it. It challenges white pride, that there is very little for them to be proud of, and more things for them to be ashamed of.
A peoples history of the world, is about how knowlege has been hoarded by the state powers, and the church powers. That thier selfishness has kept them in power, I find the message of this song rather disagreeable, because, although not a christian myself, I believe that you cannot blame a religion for some of the things believed by some of its 'members', this puts as much blame on the church for the current state of affairs, as it does on the real founders of right wing, non democratic capitalism. This one is sometimes a skipper because of this, but it still has a good thrashing beat, so I guess I can join the right wingers and homophbes who ignore the message in the mosh pit for this one.
The state lottery begins with a sample of a speech by Naom Chomsky, an outspoken anti capitalist socialist, whos ideals have been adopted (to some extent) recently by most American punk rock bands such as Anti Flag and NOFX. This song is a great thrashing track, and having plain speech for an intro for a song is one of my favourite things for a record to have. The music is very similay by this point, but if you liked thier thrash punk stylings at the start of the record, youll like it half an hour later.
Refusing to be a man is a great ending to this record, it basically sums up an important part of thier message, which is to ignore the gender roles imposed on you, whether you are a man or a woman. Also, it challenges the twisted views of sexuality in the west. This one is a slower more (dare I say it) pop punk track, which makes it a good end to the record.