Preeminent punk band Bad Religion will release their new album True North this January 22nd on Epitaph Records. In a world still brimming with rampant anti intellectualism, inequality and oppression, the band’s signature brand of sonically charged humanist dissent seems as relevant as ever. On their newest record, the storied band deliberately revisits and refines the powerful and melodic Southern California sound they helped to define.
“We went back to our original mission statement of short concise bursts of melody and thought,” co-songwriter and guitarist Brett Gurewitz explains. “The intent was to record stripped down punk songs without sacrificing any conceptual density.”
The album’s first single is a propulsive anthem succinctly called “F*ck You.” As the band’s singer and co-songwriter Greg Graffin explains, “If any band should have a song with that title it should be us. It just sounds like a perfect Bad Religion song.”
Produced by the band and Joe Barresi, True North celebrates the stirring power of cogent punk in the face of pain and adversity. The result is one of the band’s most emotionally accessible albums to date.
“I think working within certain restrictions took away the mental aspect and let us devote more attention to conveying feeling,” Graffin says. “We all go through pain and the best elements of punk give us hope in those dark times.”
While some tracks such as “Robin Hood In Reverse,” "Land of Endless Greed" and “Dharma And The Bomb” ardently address pressing world issues, others like “Hello Cruel World” veer into a far more expressive terrain. The album’s title song “True North” utilizes a wall of guitars and charged beat to explore issues of alienation and loss informed by Graffin’s recent life experiences.
“The song is written from the perspective of a kid who is running away,” Graffin explains. “He says ‘I’m out of here, I’m off to find true north.’ It’s about recognizing that you don’t fit in and trying to find a truth and purpose. Those are all classic punk themes.”
“I think we both really responded to the challenge of writing short and fast songs on this record,” Gurewitz adds. “The constraints set us free. Like moves in a game of chess, there are really as many variations as there are stars in the galaxy.”