Review : Pennywise - All or Nothing
SwnkWhen I was introduced to hardcore I asked everyone for tips on what bands to check out. Religiously checking out band after a band on endless lists you kinda got an idea of what you like and what not. Ignite was never on any of those lists. And while in theory I should like their stuff (sung vocals are my kinda thing), I never bothered to properly check them out. The songs I did hear just didn’t do much for me. And now Zoli (Ignite’s singer) is singing for Pennywise. Another band I never properly checked out. I absolutely LOVE Dookie, Enema Of The State is a great record, but while every time I hear a Bad Religion, NOFX, Lagwagon or Millencolin song I hear myself thinking “I should listen to this more often” I never do… And the same goes for Pennywise. I don’t think I can actually name a single song aside from “Bro Hymn”, which was horribly raped in every possible way mankind could think of. Still a good song though.
So let’s just say I’ll go in as fresh as they come. This will not be the review that compares it to previous records. You can probably check out a zillion of other sites for that review.
All Or Nothing starts with the title track. A quick bass line and then Zoli starts to sing. First thing that comes across my mind? The Offspring. Call me crazy but it really sounds like The Offspring to me. And while I’m not a big fan of The Offspring’s later records, it doesn’t sound bad at all. Second thought? The same thing all the punk rock reviews say (I’ll plead guilty too) ‘Great soundtrack for the summer’ or ‘This would be stuck in your walkman until the tape was worn out, if you still had a walkman’. And I have to admit, both thoughts stuck with me for the entire record.
While most songs more or less blend together (which is meant as a compliment, the quality of the tracks is pretty consistent), Let Us Hear Your Voice stands out. It’s the single and could easily be played on the radio (I would welcome it). It sounds polished enough. The entire record does. A song like Seeing Red is a little bit rawer, but still well within the radioplay limits (if they censor the “Fuck off and die line” that is, haha). Either way, the sound is perfect for these songs....full text
DyingsceneA lot has happened since Pennywise’s last album was released in 2008; they’re back with Epitaph, decided to go with a more traditional album release and oh yeah, singer Jim Lindberg quit the band. This is undoubtedly the band’s most dramatic era of events save for the tragic loss of original bassist Jason Matthew Thirsk in the mid-nineties.
Soon after Jim parted ways with the band, underground punk legend Zoli Teglas of Ignite fame took up duties as the band’s interim singer. A handful of months after that, the band revealed that he would be filling the gap as a full-timer. They began writing new music in 2010 and a whopping (for Pennywise) two years of work later, finally announced its details. For almost 15 years the band had kept to a steady release schedule of a new album every two years, but here we are at the end of a 4 year cycle, double the normal amount. And the question is, was it worth the wait? The answer is yes, it most definitely was.
“All Or Nothing” is 12 solid songs that take the signature Pennywise sound back to the basics with the twist of Zoli’s influence and voice. Zoli, the Bruce Dickinson of punk rock if I may be so bold, has a clear, strong voice that easily leaves Jim’s in the dust. But besides the comfort and familiarity of hearing Jim belt out PW’s anthems, his voice also has more character and fits better with the fast, unrelenting pace of Pennywise’s music. Fans of Ignite may be used to hearing Zoli put a lot more emotion and range into his performance, whereas his vocals with Pennywise adhere to the somewhat more static onslaught of their music. He does a great job and his voice works, but it’s still something fans will need to get used to given their familiarity with the two singer’s respective resumes....full text
PopmattersIn a way, Pennywise’s entire career can be summed up in one strange, ironic moment. During the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks made a run to hockey’s Stanley Cup Final, eventually winning the cherished trophy. Now, most hockey teams have a song they use to celebrate each goal scored. For the Ducks, it was “Bro Hymn”, the song the band initially wrote in tribute of the deaths of three friends of original bassist Jason Thirsk, then re-released with a new lyric commemorating Thirsk himself after his 1996 suicide.
Here was a professional sports team, using this song celebrating life, but looking upon death so severely, using one of the saddest uses of “whoa” in punk rock history to celebrate goal scoring. Pennywise even changed the lyrics from “Jason Thirsk, this one’s for you” to “Anaheim Ducks, this one’s for you”. It’s hard not to see the macabre humor, but now Pennywise has become defined by the song, for better or worse. From now on, to casual observers, they’ll be “that band with that long ‘whoa’ song”.
But for those who’ve followed Pennywise since their self-titled, Epitaph debut, the future of the band is very much in doubt. All or Nothing is the group’s first record in four years, and it’s their first without original lead singer Jim Lindberg, who left in 2010 over creative differences and a desire to tour less. Replacing singers are always such a dubious step in a band’s life if you aren’t AC/DC, and Zoli Teglas—frontman for fellow Orange County knuckleheads Ignite—has a tough job.
It isn’t that Lindberg’s vocals or lyrics are hard to replace—far from it, though on Pennywise’s best stuff you wouldn’t think of replacing it—it’s just that continuing on with a new vocalist, under the same band name, almost 25 years on seems like such a cynical move. Fans are right to question its legitimacy....full text
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