Picks and Pans Review: Stranger Than Fiction

updated 09/12/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/12/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bad Religion

Bad Religion has made a career of transcending its roots. The long-running California band comes out of the vehemently anticommercial hard-core punk scene, but eschews the sloppy playing and gruff vocals of its peers in favor of a more streamlined approach. These lads may be perennially angry young men, but they've learned how to make their rage accessible. Every song here is an anthem, whether the topic is codependency ("Infected"), youthful anomie ("21st Century Digital Boy") or personal demons ("Tiny Voices"). Wistful vocal harmonies and clarion guitar solos provide relief when the rapid tempos threaten to grow oppressive. While Bad Religion's rock-as-therapy ethos is already a cliché, punk has rarely sounded as radio-friendly as it does here. (Atlantic)

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