Bad Religion: True North

South Californians’ stiff middle finger.

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It says a lot about Bad Religion, their mission statement and this, their 16th album, that the first single from the record is the exuberant Fuck You.

Though singer Greg Graffin had hinted at a band hiatus in the spring of 2011 – “We’re going to try one more album and then all join the navy, do honest work” – Bad Religion’s latest record is, we’re happy to report, intellectually charged, furious and brimming with melody and life.

Only one song comes in at over three minutes, while less than half manage two minutes. Which isn’t a problem for Bad Religion, who cram more thought and insights into mere minutes than most bands manage across an entire CD. Or, in Green Day’s case, three CDs. Concise, clever and at war with everything from alienation to greed and loss, it’s a rallying cry in a world that’s lost its voice.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.