Pennywise – All Or Nothing
When 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.
All in all I can’t speak for the die-hard Pennywise fans, but I did really enjoy this record. I have to say the artwork is pretty boring though. Aside from the Pennywise & Epitaph logo there’s not a single image on there. And while I’m all for minimalism and you can do great designs based upon typography this seems thrown together in a hurry and really uninspired. Steve Martin came up with the concept, layout and design and I would love to hear the ideas behind it. Maybe it’s a tribute to an earlier record or something and I’m completely missing the point. But like I said, I dove in completely blank.
You can listen to the entire record below, so give it a spin and judge for yourself. I just know that if a young kid comes up to me asking about punkrock, I might just dub em a copy of this record, to go along with the classics. And personally I might just need to revisit Ignite and Pennywise… If only I had a bit more time to listen to everything. Still so much good stuff to discover.
Back to reviews overview
Ignite – Call On My Brothers checken Pim ;). Ik zal eens dit album checken.
Ideas behind it: check the artwork of the first album. Listening to it for the first time, sounds exactly as ridiculous as I expected.
My impression based on the first 2 songs: it sounds like a typical PW-release, even vocalwise.
I had higher expectations of this record to be honest, mainly based on Let Us Hear Your Voice. It does sound like typical PW with a vocalist who’s slightly better.
I probably wont like this, but I will give it a try, I did check out some live video’s and it felt so wrong seeing Zoli sing those Pennywise songs. I still love About Time and Full Cricle and spin them at least once a month.
On it’s own it’s an enjoyable record. Certainly more convincing than the live shows with Zoli. Still I do think that Pennywise made a mistake by choosing for Zoli. Regardless if you’re a Zoli or Pennywise fan or not, you’ve gotta say that Zoli has a very unique sound that’s recognizable out of a million and well… Pennywise does not. So to me this sounds much more like a Zoli album than a Pennywise album.
After seeing Pennywise perform with Zoli at Groezrock (I think 2011…) and not liking it, I was curious for this record. The 1st single ‘Let Us Hear Your Voice’ was much, much better than I expected, so I thought the record would be great as well. Boy, was I wrong. The single is the only song that really stands out on the record. All the other songs seem somewhat uninspired and are just not catchy enough.
But the thing that bothers me the most is the lyrics. With Zoli writing rather good lyrics for Ignite, I thought he would do the same for Pennywise. Boy, was I wrong again! This record is full of boring, standard ‘fuck the rules’, ‘we want a revolution’ lyrics with absolutely NO SUBSTANCE (and yes, that is a reference to Bad Religion 🙂 Which really frustrated me. With Jim, Pennywise never really changed style, but just sounded more honest and genuine…