Sometimes described as the Lennon and McCartney of punk, Bad Religion's Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz have billed True North as a return to their original mission statement, and so it is. Its fleeting, flab-free songs join the dots between The Ramones, Black Flag and Green Day, and Graffin's miffed humanist lyrics continue to rail against anti-intellectualism and all kinds of injustice.
Land of Endless Greed and Nothing to Dismay are both prime examples of the band's fiery rhythm-guitar-led assaults, and three-part vocal harmonies sweeten the pill. The record's guitar solos sting like the jabs of a prizefighter, and, 16 studio albums in, these Los Angeles-formed veterans of melodic hard-core barely pause for breath.
The nod to Sham 69's 1978 UK hit If the Kids are United on Robin Hood is a nice touch, and the seize-the-day sentiments of Past is Dead sound suitably urgent thanks to a pummelling, super-taut groove.
Though Grafffin - now a 48-year-old with a doctorate in zoology who has taught at University of California, Los Angeles - can't reasonably claim to represent the 'alienated yoof' Bad Religion still target, much of True North impresses.