There’s no need to color outside of the lines if you drew the picture. Pennywise continues to hammer out punk with teenaged ferocity complemented by time-seasoned sensibility, evident on their tenth release, The Fuse. With 15 fresh tracks, the album is a reminder to punk trendsters that their roots began as a passion, not a fashion statement.
The SoCal outfit, formed in 1988, has resisted the tendency to be watered down or to kick out album after album of generic dribble like some of their contemporaries. Drum rolls that drive punk rhythms and metal-edged guitar lines that are rounded out by impassioned shouts and haunting harmonies mark this American punk band at its best.
While Pennywise may not bound into uncharted musical territory, the band is not in the Dark Ages lyrically. “Fox News” voices frustration with mass media, followed with the urge to go Office Space on technology in “Disconnect.” The band’s political – but not preachy – lyrics put social commentary in layman’s terms, like a philosophizing older brother. This realist reverse psychology matches Pennywise’s sound.
The Fuse is consistently explosive. Pennywise doesn’t need to reach the bomb to leave listeners shell-shocked.