For Fans Of
So where exactly does inspiration and innovation come from after decades of existence? Motivation is a funny thing – often fickle too. It seems, and music is not immune from it, enthusiasm exists only while incentive is there.
Bad Religion. This ain’t no upstart band we are talking about. This is a seminal outfit whose influence is reflected in the multitude of young punk bands picking up a guitar and spurting three part vocal harmonies in local cavernous bars today.
Studio album number 16 (yep, 16) is typical Bad Religion. Sure, punk music can be pretty typical at the best of times though. The development is more in the energy, the themes, and the delivery more than in a variation of metre changes and song structure. However, considering Bad Religion’s consistency, legacy and regard, a typical sounding album is always a welcome thought.
16 songs for full-length 16. A neat coincidence. New album ‘True North’ picks up from 2010’s ‘The Dissent of Man’ in suitable fashion. It’s well crafted and feels like Bad Religion from the outset.
You can throw a blanket over the first six tracks. Everything from the title track, which opens the release to ‘Dharma and the Bomb’, is presented as edgy yet polished punk rock. It is not until ‘Hello Cruel World’ that things get a little slower breaking up the overall pace.
The usual vocal venom is still there with Greg Graffin still expressive and purposeful. Government, religious and social subject matters are still highly prevalent. There’s a duality here. Lyrics like, “There’s something pathetic in the world today,” is arguably a pessimistic written and verbal construct, but Bad Religion balance and lace it with upbeat delivery.
‘True North’ is fast, deliberate and effective for fans. Punk is an interesting genre though. Fans embrace it stoically, for anyone else it feels too narrow at times. This studio release is worthy of humble praise (nothing too excessive), but by now you know what you’re getting. Supporters will love this album, neutral listeners however may think ‘True North’ is four or five songs too long.
Saying Bad Religion are comfortable in their own skin is a gross understatement. ‘True North’ is a band not looking at changing the dynamic but rather honing it. It is presented in simple form and will serve as a humble collection of tracks for long-time fans.
1. True North
2. Past Is Dead
3. Robin Hood In Reverse
4. Land Of Endless Greed
6. Dharma And The Bomb
7. Hello Cruel World
9. In Their Hearts Is Right
10. Crisis Time
11. Dept. Of False Hope
12. Nothing To Dismay
13. Popular Consensus
14. My Head Is Full Of Ghosts
15. The Island
16. Changing Tide