PENNYWISE - Never Gonna Die
Release date April 20/18 (Epitaph)
Whenever I was in the mood for some righteous melodic punk, I tended to reach for some Bad Religion rather than Pennywise. I always considered the latter simply to be a watered-down version of the former. That was until Pennywise issued the All Or Nothing opus in 2012 (the best release of the genre this decade, along with The Real McKenzies' Rats in The Burlap). Unfortunately, that Pennywise release was the lone album to include Zoli Teglas on the mic, with original vocalist Jim Lindberg subsequently returning to the role.
So, here we have the second release since Lindberg's return which continues Pennywise's slide back into second fiddle status in my mind. What's become clear is that I just don't like his vocals. Don't necessarily know why, but I just find that his bratty vox impedes me from being able to fully embrace the band. I know that this is not a popular position, but it is what it is.
That said, Never Gonna Die is still an enjoyable romp and will likely be eagerly welcomed by fans of the band, hitting all of the melodic punk pre-requisites. Containing a mix of upbeat, drum propelled speedsters and radio-friendly singalongs, lyrically railing against society, there's no doubt that it will meet expectations. Pity the vocals though.