Pennywise - Yesterdays (Cover Artwork)


Yesterdays (2104)

Epitaph Records

Haters gonna hate, but for a '90s So Cal punk fan like me, a new Pennywise album is something to be celebrated. Yeah, their songs all sound pretty similar and some of their albums may not have aged all that well, but Pennywise is one of the quintessential skate punk bands and there's a reason why they've been around for as long as they have.

You must be living under a rock if you aren't familiar with the band's recent history of releasing an album (All or Nothing) with Zoli Teglas from Ignite on vocals after original singer Jim Lindberg left the band to be a punk rock dad and to form The Black Pacific, only to have Jim rejoin the band a couple of years later. What better way to return to form than by revisiting some songs from the band's past that were never properly recorded and/or released? Yesterdays does just that, and the results give a nod to the band's history while also showcasing a band that has been through a lot and is clearly revitalized.

Many of the songs on Yesterdays are typical Pennywise, for better or worse. Fletcher's guitar and Jim's voice are still one of the most powerful and distinctive combinations in punk rock, and it's great to hear them back together again. Opener "What You Deserve" sets the tone with a sound that wouldn't be out of place on their self—titled album. In fact, a lot of the songs have a really old—school sound without sounding dated.

Pennywise never fails to deliver songs that are catchy and melodic but still aggressive and dynamic. However, the re—recording of "Slow Down," which was originally a bonus track on Unknown Road, doesn't quite capture the energy of the original version. Same goes with "No Way Out," which shows that Jim's vocal range may have changed a bit with age when compared with the original from A Word from the Wise.

"She's a Winner" definitely strays from the Pennywise formula, in the same way that their cover of "Stand by Me" did back in the day. It's one of the few tracks that is more obviously an older song, but it's a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.

Although somewhat of a mixed bag, Yesterdays is an interesting chapter for the band. While the concept of recording an album of older material in many cases would indicate that a band is running out of steam, it seems that Pennywise needed to take a look back and celebrate their past in order to move forward. It will be interesting to see where the unknown road leads to next.