Album Review: Pennywise – Yesterdays (2014 LP)

Pennywise have been around for ages and it’s amazing to think that they have been one of the influential bands that have shaped the punk rock scene of today. For their music to still mean something, says a lot about their reputation. Being a band for over twenty years and having eleven studio albums, this is not only a reflection of their career longevity but it also shows their genuine commitment as musicians. Last year, they released their album Yesterdays with former and original vocalist Jim Lindberg after Zoli Téglás departure as lead singer of two years due to back injury. With punk bands like Green Day and The Offspring hitting the mainstream attention and signing with major labels, Pennywise chose to stay with Epitaph Records. Truth be told, you don’t need a major record deal to speak your mind through your music.

Yesterdays is a nice tribute towards the passing of former bassist, Jason Thirsk. The album is a compilation of never-before released songs written by Thirsk and naturally, it acknowledges a band member that shared good times with his comrades even after an unfortunate passing. Since 2008’s Reason To Believe, Lindberg has made a comeback on this album and there’s nothing short of its punk angsty hits and rough instrumentation. Pennywise is a band I’ve known long before, since they’ve been an influence to the bands I listen to today. I respect the impact they have made in this industry and Yesterdays is an album that I surprisingly ended up growing fond of after a couple of listens.

“What You Deserve” and “Restless Time” are two bold tracks that start the album on a short-lived note as both numbers give you a burst of punk rock, defined through its clashing instruments. Fast-paced with Lindberg’s deep vocals, both tracks seem to elevate the listening experience by resonating hatred from its lyrics. The only downfall is they seem like they blur in with each other that you’re tricked into thinking that you’re listening to the same song over again.

Pennywise can be very political when they feel like they have an opinion about something, especially if it’s on the topic of government systems. Have you ever been annoyed by how a country is run? Do you realise that some things never change? Imagine yourself placed in a crowd of people fighting for your own rights while “Noise Pollution” is playing in the background. We live in a society where we just want to be listened but the opposite is done and this is how we get frustrated. This song masks this frustration – the frustration that is built up from Lindberg’s commanding vocals to the thrash-moving instruments with its flair in drum beats and solid guitar work.

In a political system, sometimes we feel like prisoners that don’t get a say on anything and “No Way Out” comes from this notion. The things that do change in society are sometimes beyond our control and then becomes a repetitive cycle of empty promises. The instrumentation to this is fun as the guitar work and arrangement of drums and bass are sequenced perfectly. The simplicity of lyrics are brutally honest as facing the consequences to our actions is never easy but “you take a chance you regret” sometimes.

The most challenging thing about this entire record is to actually find some engagement and connection with it and I for one didn’t find this at first. Some tracks off the record use very similar instrumentation that sometimes, you can find yourself distracted which can make it such a task to be attentive and appreciate the album for what it’s worth. But at the end of the day, it really depends on the taste of the individual and what they’re into.

Pennywise have done a solid job with Yesterdays and if you want to get political on some aspects of your life, go blast it through when you’re driving down the high road on a shitty day. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to speak your own mind and for Pennywise, they encourage you to do the exact opposite of this; they want you to speak your mind ‘til your heart’s content. You are the master of your own future; no government or person can ever dictate that.

Review Score: 7.0 out of 10

Yesterdays is available now


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