From the Ashes may just be the pinnacle of California punks Pennywise's fifteen-year career. This time their sonic assault is aimed at the tragedies of September 11, 2001; almost two years to the day after planes hit in New York and D.C., the propulsive rhythms that marked each of the group's eight previous albums have been distilled into a hard-as-nails, melodic platform from which singer Jim Lindberg spews lyrics of governmental disgust as well as increasing positivism amid the painful nightly news. "The irony of liberty is no one here is truly free/When elections are stolen by greed and the GOP," he sings on the rapacious track "God Save the USA." "Holiday in the Sun" is a fiery nod to the Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols, while "Yesterdays" is a more affecting ode to disappearing youth than Billie Joe Armstrong ever wrote. Aging punks don't stop rocking, they just get more reflective.
(September 9, 2003)