I’ve not heard Pennywise for a while, so I was most eager to hear this new slab of songs from the LA guys who I’d loved and admittedly waned from after many years of being a huge 90’s fan. I wasn’t disappointed. ‘Never Gonna Die’ feels as though I’d only heard them yesterday. All I knew and loved was here, their energy, spirit, positive attitude, spin / comments on politics.
Pennywise with ‘Never Gonna Die’ slams hard from the start its fresh and it’s though a day hasn’t passed since I last heard them, or it felt like a first time too. This is their twelfth album and produced by Cameron Webb, who has been a long time Pennywise, and Motörhead collaborator (as well as bands including NOFX, Ignite, and Alkaline Trio). It was hard to pick a ‘best of’ from so many great tunes on this album. My favourite tracks would be Keep Moving On’ and even their ballad-like tune Live While You Can, also the title track Never Gonna Die – which is a frenetic politicised tune with a few great breakdowns.
She Said is about a person who’d lost hope, and about another person wishing they’d been there to lend a hand earlier than they did. It slows and slams at the appropriate times. Goodbye Bad Times is another slower tune on the album. It sings about moving on from getting wasted all the time, realising a change is due, it sings from a few different characters’ points of view. Its takes extreme characters and covers them simplistically but conveys a message without getting preachy. The music is slower here but rocks along at a decent pace. Won’t Give Up the Fight is another anthemic song of many here, singing about not giving up, encouraging fans to keep positive, and battle on with that you see needing to fight. Its reminiscent of Bro Hymn but I feel this follows their vague formulaic recipe. Can’t Save You Now is clearly presenting their negative views on the current president, even using samples from a few speeches.
I did think of Bad Religion a few times in listening to this album but that’s something they’ve always had, as they do play in the same punk ballpark. Maybe there is some Brett Gurewitz’ influence, being his label (Epitaph), and all. Pennywise have a sure fire winner in their new album ‘Never Gonna Die’ as they continue to successfully mix face melting hardcore with melody, energetic classic punk and a surf sound. They continue to mix empowerment and good times in their music still now thirty years since their inception.
You can preorder the new album HERE!