REVIEW: The Wonder Years – “Suburbia..”

The Wonder Years / Suburbia.. / Hopeless Records

The Wonder Years don’t sugarcoat things. Instead of concentrating thoughts on tasteless girls addicted to broken hearts, the Philadelphia six-piece do the opposite, clenching honesty to their chest ever so tightly that even extracts from Allen Ginsberg poems leak out. Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing is built on a classic pop punk foundation, letting near flawless drumming, rampant guitars and bass thuds carve out melodic headbangers (“Local Man Ruins Everything”, “My Life As A Pigeon”) while staying on the right path. There are no fillers or experimental outbreaks; lines like “I’m not a self-help book, I’m just a f*cked up kid,” are as plain as the blood that surfaces when your skin gets cut. That aspect is what makes Suburbia not just some outburst about leaving a real job and a girlfriend and fighting to be inspired. The record isn’t a pretty face and as a whole, it’s refreshing.

The gnarly piercing punk feel, complimented by Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s vocals, pushes “Came Out Swinging” into glorified territory, with a first verse to obsess over until “Woke Up Older” interrupts, guitars blazing. As much as Campbell’s lyrical effort hits hard, employing realistic themes and being sincere (“Don’t Let Me Cave In”) and prolific (“I’ve Given You All”), The Wonder Years collectively make you listen. It’s what traps the ear inside of “Summers In PA” and it’s good vibrations-feel and makes one salute and mosh to the paramount emotion behind “You Made Me Want To Be A Saint”. In a sense, Suburbia is parallel to the acclaimed sophomore cuts Take This To Your Grave and Making Love To The Camera; a simple early addition to the group’s catalogue, but an original release tying youth with whispered words of humbling fears, suffocated regrets and finding a poise to live. Pop punk isn’t glamorous, it’s raw and in the birth of summer, The Wonder Years have set a standard.

Download: “Came Out Swinging”, “Summers In PA”, “Don’t Let Me Cave In”


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