Finding yourself captivated by a band’s music is a great feeling—empowering, even. But it’s a feeling that comes with strings attached: the dread that the band’s fantastic sound will change in albums to come. This is a common frustration from which no musical genre is exempt. There are; however, always exceptions to this rule—beacons of sameness that never disappoint; that always return to bring you more of what you want to hear and never change for the sake of changing. See here for a list of notable punk sets that have stayed the same in the best possible way.
6. The Offspring
Dude. Legends. They’ve rocked the same signature sound for 8 straight albums (they’ve recorded 9), and have achieved more mainstream radio play than any other punk band in history, boasting 27 Billboard Alternative top 40 appearances, 3 of which at the #1 spot. They’ve subscribed to the same grinding, melodic, skate-video recipe for more than 30 years, and while they also insert the occasional ska-core attempt (“What In The World Happened To You?”) and goofy, sound-effect-laden cultural gaffs (“Fly For A White Guy”, “Hit That”), even their sporadic experimental stuff transcends era of origin, and sounds iconically similar. You always know (and love) when you hear an Offspring song. They’re like the security blanket of punk rock.
5. Bad Religion
Notwithstanding significant improvements to production quality, Bad Religion’s tempo, drive, and fabled four-part vocal harmonies remain basically unchanged. And that’s a good thing: it’s carried the band through 16 albums and secured them as a fixture of punk-superstardom. The band also demonstrates lyrical tenacity, rarely veering from matters of socio-politics and anti-intellectual dystopia. Boasting almost 40 years of repertoire, you always know what to expect from Bad Religion, yet you always come away amazed.
Pennywise showed us that you can overtly promulgate an anti-establishment punk ethos via songs that people can actually sing along to. With the only caveat being their single album lead-singer hiatus (2012’s All Or Nothing), they’re still 12 albums strong and have yet to induce boredom or despair among their most loyal listeners. The sound you loved in ’91 was the same sound you loved in ’01, and way beyond. Hell, even the album with the different lead singer—though worse on principle—barely departs from the vibes of the hallowed original. Overall, Pennywise has shown no reason to not continue to look forward to future music.
3. Coheed and Cambria
I understand that Coheed is not exactly punk rock, but they have their punk moments, and they usually play punk festivals and lineups. Plus they’re fantastic. Their “Punk Floyd” sentiments consist of soaring overtures rooted in the lore of a graphic novel saga written by frontman Claudio Sanchez himself. The band’s epic and ominous presence stretches across their entire discography, and while some albums are probably (definitely) better than others, the scale and gravity of the sound thunders along, album after album.
Pulley is just awesome. Their music evokes imagery of the drudgery of the daily grind, juxtaposed with the liberation of abandoning that life and chasing personal liberty, no matter the risk. Bret Easton Ellis once said “I feel I’m moving toward as well as away from something, and anything is possible.” That is how Pulley’s music makes you feel. I digress slightly, but only to make the point that Pulley has been doing this, album after album, for more than 20 years (and no one even realizes it). They are one of the most underrated punk bands in the industry, and their sound—ranging from brutal 60-second thrash-punk shotgun blasts, to mellifluous power-ballads bordering on the euphoric—permeates an extensive library that you need to check out right now. I would normally suggest a specific album or two to start out with, but with a band like Pulley, just take your pick. You simply can’t go wrong.
1. New Found Glory
These guys were like the ironic commentators of your high school dating career; a band that you listened to as an escape from the pangs of romance, but whose lyrics described exactly what you were going through. They offered an enlightened sound that retained the melodious and contextual norms of pop-punk, integrated with thrashy, post-hardcore time signatures. NFG’s musings speak to the plights of young (and maybe old) love on a fundamental enough level that (thankfully) never warranted a shift in style.