Review: Pennywise - All or Nothing

 As a misguided child, one of the main ways I gained access to new music was through the playing of video games and listening to the soundtracks while playing along. If you played Burnout 3: Takedown, you may remember that as well as the game itself, the soundtrack was kick-ass. I actually learnt a lot about the musical genre that I love so much today through listening to music while making rival drivers crash their nicely modified cars to score points and the more a song put me in the mood to cause destruction, the more attached to it I grew. Pennywise's Rise Up was not one of those songs, so my love for the Californian punks never really continued. Of course now I have managed to give them a try so I don't just recognise them as one of those bands that had a song on the greatest racing game ever.

 Of course, a lot has happened since they were placed on that video game with The F-Ups, Go Betty Go, Letter Kills and a bunch of other alternative rock bands that aren't together anymore. Most notably, the departure of original frontman Jim Lindberg in 2009 and so, as they return with new singer Zoltán Téglás, an already accomplished musician around the California punk scene, being the leader of hardcore heroes Ignite and collaborating with The Misfits and Motörhead. And with Pennywise, he knows exactly where he stands and allows the band to revel once more on their tenth album All or Nothing in glorious punk style.
 While the proper skate punk enthusiasts will look on the recruitment of Téglás with disapproval with claims that with no Lindberg, there is no Pennywise, fans of rousing hook-filled punk rock that carries a much greater sense of genuineness without time for goofing around will look on the band's decision to go on and release an album with gripping thought-provoking songs with powerful melodies and sing-along choruses filled with enough "Woah" chants to keep an entire Warped Tour crowd yelling along will revel in this album. In a world where Rise Against have become some of the biggest names in punk music for their ability to captivate audience with melodic power and songs with a fist pumping sense of anger and concern attached, Pennywise have once more hit the formula right on the head. Wither it's in rush of uplifting fiery punk melodies that make up Waste Another Day and X Generation or the genuinely beautifully rousing and uniting Let Us Hear Your Voice, the band effortlessly deliver their messages of socio-political distress and their message to unite together to make a change with scorching energy and passion.
 And with Pennywise's vision as focused and the band's performance sounding as strong as ever, All or Nothing presents itself as a punk album of great relevance and gripping intensity. And the fact that the lead singer has changed makes little difference. Even if many long time fans will be devastated over the loss of Lindberg, Téglás' recruitment as frontman is one of new power and passion. And with that, Pennywise move on with a new positivity. With a set of songs that mean much more to listeners than songs that would sound cool when you achieve a Double Takedown. I really should have gotten into this band straight away as a child.

 Pennywise's All or Nothing is out on Tuesday via Epitaph. The band will tour the UK in July with The Flatliners.