I really should begin this review by admitting that I did not want to like this album.
I am a Pennywise fan. I have been listening to them every since 1993s Unknown Road. At one point in time I owned all of their CDs and even owned their video Home Movies. I also own (and surprisingly have actually read) singer Jim Lindberg’s 2007 book Punk Rock Dad. That being said, I was not a happy camper when I heard that Jim had left the band. I could not really see Pennywise staying together without him. To me, Pennywise without Jim was kind of like Bad Religion without Greg Graffin. In my opinion, I felt like the band that was Pennywise was done for good. But yet, the band forged ahead, hiring Ignite front man Zoli Teglas to replace him.
So, as I said, I did not want to like this album. I could not bear to enjoy a Pennywise album sans Jim. In fact, when I first heard a couple of tracks off of it several months ago, I was not impressed. Did not care for the new singer. But I would have to admit that I probably did not like the vocals because they didn’t belong to Jim.
However, last week I decided to give the album another chance. So I gave it another listen. And another. And yet another. As it turns out, this album is actually really good. The music sounds like typical Pennywise. It builds on the greatness that was the 2008 album Reason To Believe and improves on it. These guys have really become great songwriters over the years. And the vocals, although they are not Jim’s, do the songs justice. He has a strong, clear voice that fits well with the music.
All or Nothing is the band’s 10th studio full-length album and was released in May of this year. It continues the band’s long standing label relationship with Epitaph Records. It is really good to see this band has continued on with this label instead of going the major label route. And it is good to see that the band did not attempt to reinvent itself since losing its front man of so many years. All Or Nothing is 14 tracks of pure, classic Pennywise and I am glad that I decided to give it another chance.
I will also have to admit, even after having said all those good things about the album, I am glad to hear that Jim has returned to the band and I’m hoping to hear how these songs with him belting them out.
Every song on this album is good but if I had to mention some highlights I would go with “Revolution” “Let Us Hear Your Voice” “All or Nothing” and “X Generation.”