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[Off The Record]
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SoCal speedpunks Pennywise have never quite broken through like their contemporaries Green Day and Offspring, but they have managed an impressive reign atop the suburban-punk underground dating back to the days of Dookie. Commercial radio showed them a little love last time out thanks to " Alien, " a moody left turn from their í99 Straight Ahead. Now, on their sixth Epitaph studio release, the band try to build on that success with the similarly mid-tempo first single, " Divine Intervention. "

AOR Pennywise sound better than you might expect: the groupís fleshed-out arrangements still have plenty of bite, and singer/folk hero Jim Lindberg takes on organized religion with thoughtful derision on the single. But the hardcore beat rules the rest of the disc, and that provides plenty of concrete-bashing fodder for skatepunks across the world. The hook-heavy title track chugs along like Bad Religion with all the idealism but none of the big words. " Fuck Authority " is even more to the point, breaking down in the middle to let a group of Internet contest winners sing a chorus. That kind of benevolent gesture more than makes up for the bandís occasional descent into hackneyed punk protest.


Issue Date: June 14 - 21, 2001

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