Pennywise – [Album]

Monday, 30 April 2012

Anyone who paid attention to a new Pennywise album over the last seven years knew that something was happening within the band and, while they might not have known what the problem was, they knew it didn't sound good. The Fuse betrayed the first hints of trouble; on that album, Pennywise was beginning to show a bit of age and wear, but at least they were still trying to stir the pit a bit as songs like “Knocked Down,” “Take A Look Around” and “Competition Song” played out and showed a bit of life, the problem was that they were the only three songs on the album which did so. That was disheartening, but even the most dogged, forgiving and devout fans didn't pick up Pennywise's ninth album, Reason To Believe – if for no other reason than they didn't know it existed; for reasons known only to the band, Pennywise released RTB on on Myspace Records instead of Epitaph and saw the band sink pretty hard into forgettable decrepitude; the songs weren't good and the promotion of the album was novel and focused on a moment rather than a long-term view. After that failure, it would have been easy to write Pennywise off (Jim Lindberg vacating the vocal seat in the band didn't help either) but, now with a new permanent lead singer (Zoli Teglas) on the mic, Pennywise has turned a most excellent corner with their tenth album, All Or Nothing.

From the very first assault of All Or Nothing's title track, listeners won't be able to miss the change in Pennywise. Here, Fletcher Dragge's guitar barks like a hellhound and is complimented perfectly by Randy Bradbury's snarling bass and Bryon McMackin's scathing snare drum and crash cymbal; the band is clearly hungry and desperate and ready to play. Longtime fans will be in wholeheartedly right from note one but, as soon as they hear Teglas ask “What's the fuckin' problem with this world today?” They'll know that there is nothing missing from the band; Lindberg's absence is irrelevant and. For the first time in fifteen years, Pennywise is playing for keeps, renewed.

After the title track sets the tone, Pennywise doesn't bother to ease off the throttle and keeps the energy up through songs like “Waste Another Day” (in which the lines “I don't wanna, no way/ I won't give up, I'll never fade away/ I'm not gonna waste another day” ring like a promise to those fans who stood by the band for so long, waiting for something good), “Let Us Hear Your Voice” and “X Generation” and nails an infectious blend of old glories and new strengths effortlessly. The energy and ambition that the band implies here is great; the band obviously wants to impress and never slips below an essential performance anywhere in this twelve-track run-time.

All that said, and it becomes apparent that there's really no easy way to summarize how good All Or Nothing is. “A rebirth” just sounds cheesy, while “a renaissance” has been said too often about two many other bands and saying “Pennywise is back” implies that the band left at some point and sounds trite to boot. So how would one explain what All Or Nothing represents or how good it is? Well, for the first time in a good long while, Pennywise has remembered how good it felt to defy the odds and be defiant in general, and they committed that feeling to tape with the help of a transfusion of new blood.The results are fantastic and will restore a lot of faith in the band; over the span of their career, Pennywise has gone from the top of the skate punk heap to the bottom but, with All Or Nothing, they've done what few are lucky enough to accomplish: they've scaled out of the muck and gotten back on top again.



All Or Nothing
will be released on May 1, 2012 via Epitaph Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.