Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Listen: Bad Religion, The Dissent of Man

At this point, more than 30 years into their career, it's pretty safe to say that Bad Religion will never change. Their one foray into diversity, 1983's Into the Unknown, was quickly followed by a retrenching EP called Back to the Known. Even when founding member Brett Gurewitz left for a few years in the mid-'90s, the essential sound wasn't altered - they still wrote powerhouse pop-punk tunes with simple chords, memorable hooks and ooh-aah harmonies. Every album contains a dozen or more of these songs, and they all kind of sound the same. They're the AC/DC of punk rock bands.

That said, there's no particular reason you should own The Dissent of Man, the band's 15th full-length, unless you really love this sound. I do. Bad Religion has always pushed my buttons, and this album's 15 songs do exactly the same things that this band has always done. Yes, I'd like to hear them branch out a little more. No, I don't consider them anywhere near the upper echelon of bands (or even punk bands) out there right now. But I like them, and if they never flip their own script again, I'll keep buying these same-sounding records as long as they keep putting them out.

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