The Black Pacific The Black Pacific

Now that we know long-time Pennywise vocalist Jim Lindberg left his band of 20 years due to the typical "creative differences," and not a desire to vacate punk for full-time fatherhood, the "why the fuck would he quit then start a new band?" puzzlement can fall by the wayside when scrutinizing the Black Pacific. As expected when the same voice has been directing a group's aural attack for nine albums, there's an inevitable comparison to all of the singer/guitarist's previous work. It's virtually impossible to forget, even if The Black Pacific is a wonderful bout of pop-influenced punk, with various eccentricities giving it a modestly unique edge. Opener "The System" feels somewhat requisite, yet when the album launches into "When It's Over," a modest electronic grind on the choruses is quite appealing. Moreover, nary a tune is incapable of instigating toe-tapping enthusiasm, especially with Lindberg's inherent knack for a strong melody or chant-along. In fact, The Black Pacific is strong but feels like Pennywise with decreased hyperactivity and aggression but intensified hooks. Until this band evolve over the course of a few albums, and Lindberg gets the past two decades out of his system, comparisons will be obvious and deserved. One can't spend half their life doing something then think they're completely changing course on a dime. (Side One Dummy)