Pennywise

Reason to Believe

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Pennywise plays it safe with Reason to Believe, sticking with themes and sounds that will be familiar to fans. This is both a security and a liability -- while some listeners may find it comforting, others may be disappointed that the band didn't seek to try something new. Trading the risks of exploration for the relative safety of the routine may also explain why Pennywise shows a lack of passion here, as if the band has finally succumbed to outrage fatigue in the years following From the Ashes. It's not that the band is giving up -- they still advocate personal autonomy and fighting back against injustice and corruption -- but there's a weariness on Reason to Believe that hasn't been present on previous albums. Not only is there a lack of innovation, but there appears to be a lack of inspiration as well. Jim Lindberg's delivery lacks the passion necessary to bring Reason to Believe to life; Fletcher Dragge may strike the right chords, but his guitar work doesn't add any depth to the album. The change here is focused on attitude rather than style, with Pennywise sounding more despairing than angry or empowered. They take acerbic aim at the cult of celebrity ("The Western World"), religion ("We'll Never Know"), apathy ("You Get the Life You Choose"), and politics ("Brag, Exaggerate and Lie"), and there's a degree of cynicism that wasn't present on Pennywise's previous album, The Fuse. What Reason to Believe does share with its predecessor is an overall frenetic pace that could have benefited from the interspersion of some slower numbers. Pennywise hasn't strayed from its beliefs, but the band does seem to have changed its worldview with Reason to Believe. It's up to fans to decide what to make of this.

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