Well, the most articulate punk band of them all, Bad Religion, finally went and did it: There’s a song simply called “[Expletive] You” on “True North.” But don’t consider that any sign of burnout or laziness; rather, that simple celebration of going for the most blunt of verbal weapons is part of the big picture on “True North,” in which Bad Religion shaves its anti-establishment messages down to bare essentials and sounds practically feral. Barbed but melodic guitar riffs and circle-pit-igniting drums drive these tirades against greed, vanity, and cruelty. Though with Dr. Greg Graffin on the mike, there’s no capping the intellect (no religion, lots of philosophy) even when songs barrel along for little more than a minute. Bad Religion’s populist positions remain unyielding, but after 30 years the band still puts a fresh face to the struggles it sees. The title track nails the restlessness of a kid seeking direction, while “Robin Hood in Reverse” — a scathing review of the past election cycle — warns about the wolves closest to the door. (Out Tuesday)
Essential “Robin Hood in Reverse”
Bad Religion performs March 28 at the
House of Blues.