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Album Review: No Closer To Heaven by The Wonder Years

American pop punks The Wonder Years have released their fifth album No Closer To Heaven, picking up where its 2013 predecessor, The Greatest Generation, left off this is more than your typical American pop punk album. Full of big hooks and sing along moments you’ll find this to be an excellent album, but whilst the band may conform to many of pop punk’s stereotypes there’s always been something more to The Wonder Years.

Whether it be their emo leanings or their refusal to go for childish lyrics pretending they’re a 15 year old, you always get the feeling that there’s a bit more substance to The Wonder Years. As such No Closer To Heaven feels like a grown up pop punk record. If for some reason you’ve managed to ignore The Wonder Years to date, and need some guidance think along the lines of Iron Chic and The Menzingers for contemporaries and expel thoughts of the lesser side of pop punk (bands like Neck Deep et al).

No Closer To Home is gargantuan in terms of its length, for a genre where 10 track albums coming in shy of 30 minutes has become the norm, this bucks the trend with its 13 tracks clocking in at just over 45 minutes. It isn’t a matter of quantity over quality either, there’s not a single weak track and all the fat has been trimmed.

From ‘I Wanted So Badly to be Brave’ the scene is set, the impassioned vocal of Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell plays the perfect challenge to the soaring and infectious pop punk riffs. ‘You In January’ shows the more laid back side of The Wonder Years before exploding into a huge anthemic emo rock song. To ‘Palm Reader’ and title track ‘No Closer To Heaven’ that confirm this is grown up pop punk, there’s a refined and assured sound devoid of any efforts to conform to preconceived expectations.

‘Cardinals’ shows the more abrasive and aggressive side of the band, whilst ‘A Song For Patsy Cline’ excels in its laid back intro through to the churning riffs and bright summery guitar work which plays the perfect antithesis to the dark lyrics. It’s the least pop punk track on No Closer To Heaven and probably the best. ‘The Bluest Things on Earth’ gets the blood pumping, simmering with punk energy and reckless abandon you want through yourself around the room, before the infectious hooks of ‘A Song for Ernest Hemingway’ reminds you of just how glorious pop punk can be.

The Wonder Years are every bit as good, if not even more astounding when the go for the quiet and emotional tone. ‘Cigarettes & Saints’ and ‘Stained Glass Ceilings’ stand out as being heart-string tugging emotional anthems, it’d be nigh on impossible to fit more passion into either track. Stunning.

With No Closer To Heaven The Wonder Years have release their best material to date. It blows their contemporaries out of the water; this is the pinnacle of pop punk.

AD Rating 8.5/10

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2015 | Alt Dialogue
  2. Album Review: Sister Cities by The Wonder Years – Alt Dialogue

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