Band â€“ The Wonder Years
Album â€“ Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
Label â€“ Hopeless Records
Release date â€“ Out Now
Sounds like â€“ rollicking punk rock air-punching excitement, drenched in sweat and beer.
I only discovered The Wonder Years a few months back on a Rock Sound CD and was, if you pardon the cheesy expression â€“ hooked. Their songs are a huge rush of spirited punk rock and storytelling. Apparently theyâ€™ve been around for 7 years, but this is the first Iâ€™ve heard of them.
As album titles go, itâ€™s quite a mouthful. Taken from the Alan Ginsberg poem â€˜Americaâ€™, â€˜Suburbiaâ€¦â€™, tells â€˜the story so farâ€™ if you will, of The Wonder Years. It seems packed with references to their past releases (lyrical call-backs litter every song, as well as nods to Saves The Day and Ginsbergâ€™s â€˜Americaâ€™. Itâ€™s a nice idea â€“ a sort of concept pop-punk album if you will.
â€˜Came Out Swingingâ€™ fades in through a sampled, confused voice and a drum roll before exploding with vocalist Dan â€˜Soupyâ€™ Campbell bellowing â€œMOVED ALL MY SHIT INTO MY PARENTâ€™S BASEMENT AND OUT OF OUR OLD APARTMENTâ€¦â€ as he begins a long list of ailments and a desire to stay young, despite the stress, pressures and fatigue of a hectic lifestyle. Thereâ€™s a sense of â€˜world wearyâ€™ in Soupyâ€™s lyrics, especially â€œmy heart keeps saying stay young, my lower back seems to disagreeâ€ â€“ but itâ€™s the boisterous energy and barely restrained glee with which these words are spat which seem to say otherwise â€“ singing about being shattered in a exuberant way is the new black. Itâ€™s obviously a song about the pressures of touring â€“ â€œI spent the year as a ghostâ€¦â€ â€“ never settling, roaming across America, across Europe, across the world possibly. â€œIâ€™m not sure where home is anymoreâ€ â€“ The Wonder Years should tour with Touche Amore. Itâ€™s hopeful though; â€œI spent the winter, writing songs about getting better and if Iâ€™m honestâ€¦Iâ€™m getting thereâ€ roars Soupy, in an enthused bear-like growl.
Iâ€™m still trying to decide what I like most about â€˜Woke Up Olderâ€™; early contender for my track of the year. The lyrics arenâ€™t as good as â€˜Came Out Swingingâ€™ but the chorus â€“ my god the chorus. Itâ€™s a huge anthemic hook of enormous sing-along proportions: â€œHEY JESS, I WOKE UP OLDER CARRYINâ€™, TWO YEARS OF BAGGAGE UNDER MY EYES!â€ Itâ€™s one of those songs that the fans absolutely bellow from the rooftops â€“ itâ€™s a fist-pumping raucous shout of barely restrained energy and rampant enthusiasm. I think though, itâ€™s because the chorus seems to have a similar structure to â€˜Shoulder The Wheelâ€™ by Saves The Day (a track which is referenced on the last track of this album).
â€˜My Life As A Pigeonâ€™ is a mixture of Guttermouth punk rock – itâ€™s snotty and abrasive, yet has that vibrant, fresh-faced appeal of New Found Glory. Itâ€™s also relentlessly optimistic, which is what â€˜Suburbiaâ€¦â€™ seems to harness â€“ it points out areas where things need improvement, but punches itself on the shoulder and says â€œlife could be worse, so letâ€™s make it better â€“ letâ€™s make the most of our situation, letâ€™s not dwell, yeah?â€ â€˜Summers in PAâ€™ exemplifies this the most â€“ the chorus:
â€œThere’s something about weeknights in the suburbs
And there’s something about me and all my friends
Kings of awkward situations
The plum blossoms are falling
I’m more than happy going down with them.â€
Itâ€™s soppy as fuck, but damn â€“ itâ€™s the kind of honest, passionate, gang-mentality punk rock spirit that makes music feel so alive and visceral. â€˜Coffee Eyesâ€™ is a heady slice of melodic rock, dipping into some heavy drum rolls, mellow passages but still this gutsy determination and snappy, punk rock barks of wanting to succeed, brimming with positive vibes and agitated aggression.
â€˜Donâ€™t Let Me Cave Inâ€™ is a Four Year Strong-worthy circle pit of hard, fast and dangerous punk rock. It draws much on what made â€˜Coffee Eyesâ€™ sound so personal, yet swaps out the mellow passages and melodic rock, for hefty slices of vibrant punk energy, fist-waving mid-sections, gang-vocal cries â€œDONâ€™T! LET ME CAVE IN!â€ and yet another HUGE sonic-sing-a-long chorus, with vocalist Soupy touching some nerves and hearts with his passionate delivery. In contrast, â€˜You Made Me Want To Be A Saintâ€™ is just over 90 seconds of near-hardcore punk ferocity; gang-vocal swear-a-thon choruses, taunt punchy guitar lines and dual-vocal call-and-return under a barrage of pissed-off chords.
â€˜Suburbia, Iâ€™ve Given You All And Now Iâ€™m Nothingâ€™ is a kicking and beating heart of the current new-pop punk scene and itâ€™s an album I canâ€™t recommend enough. A superb, uplifting collection of songs, packed with gutsy, â€œI want to hug you and jump around like a lunaticâ€ choruses, along with a heavy dose of speed and snapping charm.