Review: Pennywise – Yesterdays

Review: Pennywise – Yesterdays

Pennywise – Yesterdays
Track Listing:
1.) What You Deserve
2.) Restless Time
3.) Noise Pollution
4.) Violence Never Ending
5.) Am Oi!
6.) Thanksgiving
7.) She’s a Winner
8.) Slow Down
9.) Public Defender
10.) No Way Out
11.) I Can Remember
12.) Band Practice 89

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 15, 2014
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Official Website: Pennywise Website

Group Background:
Pennywise is a Southern California punk rock group formed in 1988 from Hermosa Beach, CA. They are known for the fast-paced mix of hardcore and skate punk and being responsible for the merge of the skate, surf and punk cultures in the 1990s.

Due to an unfortunate self-inflicted gunshot wound, bassist Jason Thirsk, was the first original member to part from the band and was replaced by current bassist Randy Bradbury. Many of the songs on Yesterdays are recent recordings of songs written by Thirsk.

Pennywise remained in tact over the following decade until the voice of the band, Jim Lindberg decided to leave the group for personal reasons. For two years Zoli Téglás led the band with his vocals until a back injury put him on the disabled list. Lindberg’s triumphant return in 2012 culminated into the new album Yesterdays, and Pennywise fans hope they can rekindle the momentum they have had going for the last quarter century.

Album Review:
Yesterdays was mosh-pit ready, right out of the gate with the song “What You Deserve”. Even though the recording is clean and crisp, the songs have a raw sound that acts as a nostalgic time warp to 1995. Old school Pennywise fans will appreciate the rejuvenation of the music that made them so well known.

The second song “Restless Time” does not waste any time and hits hard, makes its point, and moves on; everything punk rock fans appreciate about the music. “Let’s knock each other down in the pit but you’re getting right back up for the next song.”

I’m not saying that Zoli Téglás was not a good choice for lead singer while Jim Lindberg was on hiatus, but Lindberg’s style and deliberateness is what makes this band so energetic and in-your-face.

There is not much differentiation with the vocals as I think Lindberg still has the potential to hit a wider variety of notes with the exceptions being on “Slow Down” and “I Can Remember”. Punk rock bands do not have to rely on harmony and melody because punk rock does not care. Perhaps age caused Lindberg to lack in some of the fervor and passion he has displayed on past albums… I want to stress the word “some”. I had to listen to Unknown Road and About Time again to compare and confirm issue I have with the new recording. Or perhaps they could have spent some extra time in the studio trying different vocal patterns.

Randy Bradbury’s bass is a quite pronounced on this record. A shining example of his skill is heard all throughout “She’s A Winner”. The drum track is everything one would expect from speedster Byron McMackin, something fast and speedy to hold the record together and move it along quickly with creative fills. The one and only Fletcher Dragge seems to have the same angst that makes teenagers pick up a guitar and play punk music in the first place.

The songs remind me of the 1990s punk music I grew up with as not one element of the album strays into any sort of pop, radio friendly, or over produced sound we began to hear at the turn of the millennium from punk bands. However, I feel the album falls short because they have so much potential and the fact they recorded old songs makes it sound a bit sophomoric.

It is difficult to rate punk rock albums because it is not punk rock to do so. As a writer, I try to take an objective stance when I listen to albums, and even more so when I am a fan of the band. I like to think this album is more for nostalgia and the recording process was used to rekindle the relationship that took a break when Lindberg left the band.

Written & Reviewed By: Blake Taylor

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]