Straight Ahead

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Pennywise pulled together impressively after the suicide of Jason Thirsk, as Full Circle proved. Straight Ahead finds them carrying on, turning out an album that rivals its predecessor. In many ways, it's the same album as its predecessor, and that's a problem with traditionalist punk bands in the late '90s: By adhering to their ideals, they leave themselves little room for artistic growth, which means all their albums pretty much sound the same. In the case of Pennywise, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since they're a very good, very tight band. Even if their albums are similar, they're all enjoyable, which means Straight Ahead is a solid record that will please fans, even if it does raise the question of where the band should go from here.

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