Sound — 7
Reason To Believe commences with a standard sort of intro; an amalgamation of uncertain, almost subliminally occurring voices, but they are there, and they establish a precedent of doubt, ever-present on this album. Surprisingly enough, the second track, One Reason, owes much of its rhythmic ideas to recondite territory for Pennywise: Metal. Despite this, Pennywise does not stray far from the known, sticking with the band's favoured NoFX and Bad Religion styled structures. Of course, this is not necessarily a negative factor in listening to this album, but after listening to preceding albums in Pennywise's repertoire, one struggles to comprehend whether there is any reason at all to purchase what is essentially an industrialised product: this is all the same. Naturally, this approach suits the purists, exemplifying the ability of Pennywise to stick to a tried and trusted formula. However, one must note that -- perhaps as a result of the band's decision to sign to Myspace Records-the band's aggression and live feel have been compromised; particularly on tracks such as Nothing to Lose, which has so much more potential than the recorded version.
Lyrics — 7
Ironically, the band has departed from well-documented lyrical vituperation of the system, with Reason To Believe embarking on what is essentially a Cartesian soul-searching session for Lindberg and company. On what is effectively an attack on consumerism, Lindberg barks his animosity on tracks such as Nothing to Lose. However, as documented in the sound section, perhaps the recording methods of the band's new record label have compromised intensity for melody -- although this could be regarded as an ever-present criticism of any Pennywise album. The single provides what is arguably the lyrical highlight of the album, with Lindberg emulating Bad Religion, as he bellows, this is the face of our vanity, the tabloid death of humanity, a truly poetic line, exemplifying the more articulate side of Pennywise.
Overall Impression — 7
The decision to sign with Myspace Records may come back to bite Pennywise, but the fact that this album was given away as a free download via myspace is a welcome innovation in the music world, if not inspired by Radiohead's pioneering giveaway of In Rainbows. This is a solid effort from Pennywise, and should not be discounted until heard, with the album artwork perhaps being the boldest statement a band of this nature has made in a long time.