This week's new music releases reviewed, including Propaghandi and Daniel Kelly
6/7 Supporting Caste Propagandhi, a punk band active since 1986, garnered cult fame in the early ’90s with How To Clean Everything, a fervently political yet markedly goofy record that fit in comfortably alongside the Southern Californian brat-pop stylings of the group’s Fat Wreck Chords labelmates. But Supporting Caste caps a stunning evolution: not really a punk album at all, it might better be classified as metallic left-field tech-rock, marked by a postprog virtuosity that’s the perfect vehicle for the band’s outsider screeds.
‘Dear Coach’s Corner’ exemplifies Propagandhi’s inspired strangeness. A rant against Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry, who regularly espouses hard-line conservative views on air, the track laments the jingoism infecting a beloved national pastime. Pummelling, angular riffage and Chris Hannah’s grittily melodic belt lend dire force to the song’s quirky subject matter. Aside from a couple of silly detours, the album maintains this riveting blend of passion and peculiarity. The frenzied math-grind of ‘Incalculable Effects’ and the epic lyricism of ‘Last Will In Testament’ have little in common other than a palpable sense of conviction. Propagandhi may never garner the indie acclaim of other punk bands, but Supporting Caste proves that they are doing everything they can to keep punk progressive. Hank Shteamer. Available at www.amazon.com