Pennywise are one of those bands that anyone who listens to punk rock has listened to at some point. In their twenty-plus years as a band, these punk rock stalwarts made a name for themselves in the music industry. Which is why it was such a shock when after twenty years, former frontman Jim Lindberg decided to call it a day.
Over the past few years, Pennywise had been running on empty. After a couple of lacklustre albums (especially their last release, 2008's "Reason To Believe"), it looked like Pennywise would just be resigned to play the same songs over and over again, with less energy each time. So it may not have been a huge surprise when Jim Lindberg stepped down as frontman, but more surprising that after twenty years, Pennywise managed to find a replacement for him.
That replacement came in the form of Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas. With a new frontman, Pennywise decided to give it their all- therefore the apt album title, "All Or Nothing."
Most bands who lose their frontman or frontwoman never really regain what they had in the beginning. It's hard to replace the person who served as band figurehead, regardless of how long they have been at the helm of the band. In this case, Pennywise swapping Lindberg for Teglas has actually been for the better. Pennywise haven't sounded this energetic in years.
From the opening track, "All Or Nothing," to the last track, "United," Pennywise sound like they are in fine form. They are no longer a band that is simply going through the motions, but a band that sounds more like they did twenty years ago. Each of the 12 tracks on "All Or Nothing" are blistering, fast-paced, and infinitely better than anything that came out of their last album.
Despite losing Lindberg as a frontman, Pennywise haven't lost their 90's skate-punk sound. That likely has a lot to do with the fact that that main songwriter of the band, Fletcher Dragge, is still weilding his guitar. "All Or Nothing" isn't reinventing Pennywise, but rather a return to form. Anyone who expected an album by Pennywise to sound like anything other than 90's Pennywise have been mislead. It's the same "Fight Till You Die" feel of every other Pennywise album, but this time with a more invigorated feel.
While "All Or Nothing" may not be reinventing the Pennywise sound wheel, it is a thoroughly enjoyable album for those who enjoyed Pennywise albums in the past. It is a fine return to form, and gives a band that was doomed to repeat history a bit of much-needed life.