Pennywise: Yesterdays

Yesterday things were better...

- Mary Shelley once wrote a shocking piece of gothic horror. At once gruesome and invigorating, it was an allegorical work full of warning about the encroachment of technology upon modern life, the nature of humanity and ultimately mankind’s hubris in the face of the unknown. The latest Pennywise album has one thing in common with Shelley’s classic, some monsters should stay dead.

It’s right there on the cover, Yesterdays is already over, like one of grandpa’s long winded tales of days gone by, one you’ve heard a dozen times before yet still makes grandpa misty at the thought, it’s got a ring of pointless nostalgia but none of the clout carried by age. It’s a real problem because underneath the swift riffs, kinetic drumbeats and the re-emergence of Jim Lindberg’s positively angry vocals, Yesterdays just feels old.

Sticking to the theme, the last track is literally from the past, Band Practice 89, a fourteen minute ordeal straight from the golden age of punk, scratchy, uneven and out of tune, it’s an outdated garage demo that doesn’t even showcase a reason for the band’s ensuing popularity.

Featuring a handful of tracks written some years before by late bassist Jason Thirsk, the rest of the album deliberately steers away from Pennywise’s usual political punk message, opting instead for a handful of passé affirmations. It’s like wrapping medicine in candy, only, they got it inside out, so the treat is wrapped inside the bitter and swallowing the whole thing seems arduous at best.

So, Pennywise are still here and that’s nice for them, but their latest attempt feels like an anachronism in the modern music landscape. There’s no progression here, no insight and no challenge either, just a forty-five minute time capsule that never got buried. Yesterdays happened and it’s fine to be wistful, but tomorrow is coming and it’s time to lay the past to rest.

- Nic Addenbrooke.

Album Details

Album Title: Yesterdays
Artist: Pennywise
Record Label: (Epitaph / Warner)