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Pennywise - Reason to Believe Album Cover

Pennywise - Reason to Believe

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7.1
Pennywise Reason to Believe
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Record Label: Myspace Records

Since bursting onto the scene with their 1991 self-titled debut, Pennywise has stayed strong in the underground, releasing well-received punk albums and acting as a bastion of hope for all those disillusioned punks out there, which remains a constant theme even on their newest effort, Reason to Believe. However, nine albums into their discography, Jim Lindberg, guitarist Fletcher Dragge, bassist Randy Bradbury, and drummer Byron McMackin are predictably a little drained in content and creativity.

Those who loved Pennywise's 2005 release, The Fuse, will probably think Reason to Believe is a bit too "punk protest by numbers" while those who found The Fuse too slick might feel like the new one is a solid but not outstanding return to former glory. This album is a rapid fire fist-puncher of an album at least musically, but at times it feels like Lindberg is mailing it in. "One Reason" is a perfect example of this as he lackadaiscally wonders, "Give me one good reason why I should care at all." The Pennywise of old would be a fiery tirade with Lindberg in the listener's face, demanding an answer to that question while the rest of the band pummels your ears. The song's lazy attitude may lead some listeners to send the same question back at the vocalist.

Frankly, this album rocks pretty hard, but it will start to remind you a lot of Bad Religion lite instead of Pennywise. The lead single, "The Western World" is a standout on this album, but it feels like it could have been ripped from a New Maps of Hell b-side and amped up a couple notches with some hey-hey's thrown in for good measure. "Confusion" is a step slower than most of the album, instead letting Jim Lindberg lead the charge as opposed to the rhythm section, and it works well. This provides a nice counter to "It's Not Enough to Believe," which appears two tracks later and might be one of the most inspired tracks, lacing together a blazing tempo with some trademark attitude. We see that again in full force on the next few songs as well, with the explosive guitar work on "You Get the Life You Choose," the speedy "Brag, Exaggerate & Lie" and the punchy, "Die for You," which could fit right in on the band's last album. Reason to Believe is a relatively bottom-heavy album, for better or worse.

Reason to Believe isn't the best "old-school" punk album that has been or will be released this year. However, it does offer flashes of vintage Pennywise, but it also offers a few instances of the band showing some ragged edges. Give them credit for keeping many of the same topics for the past 20 years of music, but it does feel like they're just not getting angry enough anymore, and it shows in the music. With the number of shtick bands out there already, let's just hope Pennywise isn't trying to capitalize on that. Reason to Believe is recommended for current fans of the band, but anyone trying to get into Pennywise would be better served checking out their older tunes to fully understand where this album fits into their whole discography.
Track List (might vary based on bonus tracks)01. Faith and Hope
02. You'll Never Know
03. Nothing To Lose
04. The Western World
05. One Reason
06. Confusion
07. You Get The Life You Choose
08. All We Need
09. Next In Line
10. Something To Live For
11. Brag, Exaggerate, and Lie
12. Die For You
13. It's Not Enough To Believe
14. Affliction
15. As Long As We Can
Listen to PennywiseMyspace | Buy Pennywise's Reason to Believe on iTunes
This review is a user submitted review from Tony Pascarella. You can see all of Tony Pascarella's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24
11:57 PM on 04/03/08
#2
Susan Frances
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I checked out Pennywise's tracks in the listening party over at Myspace. I thought they kept it real, which I was really surprised that they did. They sound like Pennywise without repeating themselves.
12:01 AM on 04/04/08
#3
Tony Pascarella
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I checked out Pennywise's tracks in the listening party over at Myspace. I thought they kept it real, which I was really surprised that they did. They sound like Pennywise without repeating themselves.
It's good, but I just don't feel like it's completely their A-game, so to speak. That said, the fact that so many old school punk bands are releasing albums this year makes me very happy. I'd love to see the genre make some sort of resurgence, even though I know it'll never hit the mainstream popularity it had in the mid-90s or probably even the underground following from the years before that.
01:53 AM on 04/04/08
#4
Skate punker
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It's good, but I just don't feel like it's completely their A-game, so to speak. That said, the fact that so many old school punk bands are releasing albums this year makes me very happy. I'd love to see the genre make some sort of resurgence, even though I know it'll never hit the mainstream popularity it had in the mid-90s or probably even the underground following from the years before that.

Damn straight, i hope the 'scene' comes back. Good old 90's skate punk. This album isnt too bad either, alot better than the fuse
07:26 AM on 04/04/08
#5
the_chariot
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ahh the band that got me through my teen years...along with offspring, early green day etc, I'm sure myself as well as many others can list these as the bands that introduced me to the punk sort of music and shaped us all :)
07:29 AM on 04/04/08
#6
The Marc
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This review was as predictable as Pennywises' last few releases, which is ironic considering how much better this record is compared to those releases. Best since Straight Ahead, maybe even Full Circle. Cameron Webb made this sound huge.
08:16 AM on 04/04/08
#7
FRoGGyFo0
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Still need to check this album out... I love old school pennywise... Bro Hymn is the best song with some buddies and a couple drinks in ya'
08:38 AM on 04/04/08
#8
Scott Weber
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I had high hopes, and came out disappointed. It was mediocre and really didn't sound like Pennywise at times.
08:57 AM on 04/04/08
#9
Tony Pascarella
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I had high hopes, and came out disappointed. It was mediocre and really didn't sound like Pennywise at times.
The first half of the album save for The Western World doesn't do much for me, but the second half really picked up, IMO.

I think given their past work they could have done a lot better.
09:08 AM on 04/04/08
permanentdan
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i agree with most of the review, except for the part about one reason. that actually was one of my more favorite songs on the album and immediately got me interested in the release when i first heard it. i think i first heard western world though one day while driving with my sister in chandler arizona. it was just kinda like, hey that sounded a lot like pennywise. ive been a fan of this band for some 8 years now, and i def agree with the one dude a few posts up, in that i feel this is their best release since maybe straight ahead. i liked land of the free, but it still didnt compare to straight ahead. that album is classic! thanks for reviewing this one though.
09:37 AM on 04/04/08
singyoutocoma
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I was surprised the giveaway promotion wasn't mentioned. Good review, though.
09:47 AM on 04/04/08
Tony Pascarella
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I was surprised the giveaway promotion wasn't mentioned. Good review, though.
Thanks. The review ran a little longer than I wanted it to, so I figured it was more important to touch on the music than all the gimmicks surrounding this. It's an interesting move though--I really do hope it works well for the band. Even though I was a little disappointed by this release overall, I'd love to see a bunch of people become fans of the band and start to understand the roots of a lot of the stuff they're listening to these days.
09:58 AM on 04/04/08
SanePsychotic
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I was surprised the giveaway promotion wasn't mentioned. Good review, though.

Yeah me too. But seeing this reminded me to download it. Good review.
10:52 AM on 04/04/08
Tony Pascarella
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I totally forgot to mention this before. If anyone wants to get a notification in the UserCP next time I write a review, click my (user)name above my avatar, click "Friend" and add me to your friends list. It's as easy as that.
11:20 AM on 04/04/08
brokenwings
Tear the scene down, start over.
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i just can't get into this music anymore... so repetitive (both music and lyrics) and somewhat full of clichés. so i guess it wasn't much of a surprise that this album left me completely bored. however, fans of the genre should probably be able to enjoy this

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