I think pretty much every superlative to describe the uber-lengthy career of Bad Religion has by now been well exhausted. So, let’s cut to the chase; having dusted themselves down in the mid-Eighties, following a brief loss of direction (read; ‘Into The Unknown’) these guys have been going hard at it ever since, and gaining a rabid global following along the way. ‘True North’ is their 16th studio album, and a landmark in stubbornness and perseverance, if nothing else.
Recorded in summer 2012, the assembled 16 tracks pretty much tick every Bad Religion box, with intelligent satirical vocals played out to a 2 minute burst of concise guitar filled melodic exuberance, and layered with their by-now infamous backing vocals – “In Their Hearts is Right” particularly indicates opportunities in Barbershop, if all else fails.
Yes indeed, there is energy aplenty in these songs, and the impassioned social message they shout about is one I relate to; a world of money hungry bankers and corporations, lying politicians, and a bitter realization that humankind is slowly but surely destroying the planet that sustains us. I had “Land of Endless Greed” running thru my head earlier, listening to the latest developments on Goldman Sachs, and their attempts to take advantage of a fall in the top rate of income tax, and stuff their pockets with further millions in bonuses. Incidentally, the song smokes.
Funnily enough, one of the standout tracks for me, “Dharma and The Bomb”, is the least stereotypical Bad Religion sounding song on the album, a sun drenched, good time garage rock ‘n roller, that I could have done with at least another 60 seconds of. And those with a sharp ear will note references to The Adolescents, Germs, and Sham 69. I’ve had this album now for a few days, have spun it regularly, and can declare it a top notch Bad Religion album, a band that still do it for me, talk my language, sing my song.