Pennywise: Jim (vocals); Fletcher (guitar); Jason (bass); Byron (drums).
Recorded at West Beach Recorders, Hollywood, California.
Pennywise: Jim (vocals); Fletcher (guitar); Jason (bass guitar); Byron (drums).
Named after the evil clown in Stephen King's novel IT, Pennywise debuted on Epitaph Records in 1991 with this fierce 14-song album. Unmistakably influenced by veteran hardcore band Bad Religion (whose guitarist Brett Gurewitz founded Epitaph), the California quartet offers up an assured set of dense, melodic tunes that typify the California pop-punk sound.
Having a rather redundant self-titled song on a self-titled album is about the only misstep on this outing, with the ensemble unleashing formidable anthems such as "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Living for Today," which boast pummeling rhythms, blazing guitar lines, and frontman Jim Lindberg's crisp, energetic vocals. Even at this early stage of the group's career, its aggressive sound and positive outlook was fully formed, as best exemplified by the poignant ode to camaraderie "Bro Hymn." It's fitting, then, that when the mid-1990s pop-punk boom came along, and many Epitaph acts, including the Offspring and, oddly enough, Bad Religion moved on to major labels, Pennywise stayed true to the company and became its flagship band.