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Despite being too cerebral and too damn fast to ever be truly a mainstream concern, over a 30-something year career Bad Religion have amassed a body of work of sufficient quality to secure its authors a seat at the high table in the American punk rock hall of fame. The truly impressive thing about this most intellectually probing of groups, however, is their refusal to sunbathe on past glories, and the effort and care they bring to taking forward steps.
Chances are that middle-aged fans of this middle-aged group might nominate albums such as 1988’s pivotal Suffer and 1994’s Stranger Than Fiction – fine sets, both – as being Bad Religion’s musical high-water marks. But for listeners still paying close attention the sextet’s movements, their output in the 21st century is of an even higher order.
With its high-minded lyrical concerns, its family-sized choruses and its authors’ buoyant pursuit of what, in lesser hands, could be a restrictive musical form, True North is a superior addition to Bad Religion’s already towering body of work. — BBC