By Brian Cook
Propagandhi first made a name for themselves in the early ’90s by tapping into the thrashy pop-punk sounds popularized by Fat Wreck Chords artists like NOFX and Lagwagon. As a general rule, albums of that ilk don’t age particularly well. But even Propagandhi’s earliest releases have stood the test of time based on their razor-sharp musicianship and uncharacteristically well-informed and well-spoken sociopolitical lyrics. And while many of the band’s sonic affiliates have treaded water for the last two decades, Propagandhi have continuously stepped up their songwriting by veering away from the straightforward skate-punk sound of their peers and moving toward a darker and more elaborate metal approach. Their most recent album, the dense and dire Failed States, is a far cry from their comparatively upbeat and snotty debut. But it’s encouraging to watch a band with progressive politics also be progressive with their sound.