If you rode a skateboard in 1993, chances are you’ve heard of pennywise. I bet you were into it too. You would put on your Thrasher T-shirt and blast “Bro-hymn” in your car as you and 15 of your friends drove out to your favorite skate spot. But then something happened. You went away to school and responsibilities started taking up skate time. Your body started redistributing its fat to that lovely tire slowly growing around your waist. Your hair started thinning, so you started growing it out to hide that fact. Pennywise, however, doesn’t care. It really doesn’t matter to them. They continue to play the same music they have been playing since they first discovered Bad Religion almost 15 years ago.
Is it a bad thing though? And I don’t mean the music itself. Pennywise, after all, has always been a textbook West Coast punk band: aggressive, melodic and smoother than most East Coast stuff. It’s just that people will always wish that Rancid wrote another “And out Come the Wolves…,” that Jawbreaker wrote another “Dear You,” or that Saves the Day wrote another Lifetime cover album. Um, ignore that last one. Here Pennywise has done exactly that. They have written another Pennywise album. And at this point, if they’re happy doing it, then more power to them.
In fact, during those awkward years where kids first realize that, wow, music is good, I’m glad that Pennywise, this being one of their most political albums, is dealing with topics that need urgently to be discussed and brought to light. Kids in suburbs across America will be driving from the mall to the movies on Friday nights, blasting From the Ashes and feeling rebellious, wondering if the people at OnStar can hear them denouncing the government in their mom’s SUV.
So yeah, it’s fast, you can sing along, and I’m pretty sure you can edit a surf or skate video to it. It’s nothing new for this band, but it’s nothing that’s going to bring down their reputation any more than ripping off Bad Religion for about 10 years too long. But I don’t mind if they have another 10 years in them.