REVIEW: The Wonder Years – Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing

The Wonder Years reveal details for upcoming June release

Artist: The Wonder Years
Album: Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: Hopeless

Plenty of bands claim they document life through their lyrics, but few have ever done so in such a blunt and relatable way as Hopeless Records’ The Wonder Years. Through stories of life on and off the road, as well as pop culture and literary references, Dan “Soupy” Campbell and the rest of TWY have carved a niche in the pop punk world that few, if any, have tried to duplicate. Their previous effort, The Upsides, brought the band from the relative obscurity to a slot on this Summer’s Warped Tour and a cover feature in Alternative Press Magazine. That may seem impressive to some, but I think it will be what happens after their latest, Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing, hits stores that will truly turn heads.

It’s hard for anyone to not get excited as “Came Out Swinging” fades in to begin the album. Feedback met with a voiceover murmuring “My mind is made up” and “There’s gonna be trouble” gives way to a pit inducing fill that officially kicks off the band’s third full length. It’s clear from the moment the first hook hits that this is essentially The Wonder Years 3.0, more mature and focused than ever before. All the elements that fans have grown to love since day one are still here, but more finely tuned and expanded upon than ever before. I dare anyone to find a single negative comment or even words to voice their reaction when the bridge hits (this will cause riots in a live setting):

“I came out swinging, from a South Philly Basement, caked in stale beer and sweat, under half lit flourescents, and i, spent the winter writing songs about getting better, and if I’m being honest, I’m getting there.”

As we dig our teeth into Suburbia, we find The Wonder Years building on the energy of “Swinging” with “Woke Up Older,” a song that feels very much like a continuation of the foundation started on Upsides. It’s evident from here on out that Soupy has much, much more to say than even the most diehard of fans may have thought. He’s previously spoken about his desire for this record to say more than Upsides and it does, but never so much so that it feels unnatural for the group. “Suburbia,” a track that doesn’t pass a minute in length, works as a segway for the album that also demonstrates this point perfectly. The introspective heart and progressive pop punk sound is there, but with a focus on community and how it reflects the mood of everyone in the area that paints a much wider scope and view some of the band’s previous material.

“My Life As A Pigeon,” a song that personates the band’s metaphorical explanation for how they view themselves, is destined to be a fan favorite. A hook that’s suited for radio, but with instrumentation and structure this Summer’s Warped Tour crowds will devour in a heartbeat. Similarly, “Don’t Let Me Cave In” still stands out as one of, if not the strongest, song that band has released to date. Not only the hook, but the message and feel of the song plays out near cinematically on each and every listen. However, neither of these tracks can compare to the mature songwriting and unforgettable tone of “And Now I’m Nothing.” From the soaring vocals, to the multiple time signatures and final bridge, I dare any fan of the genre to not stand and applaud when this track comes to a close.

I should also note that Suburbia also showcases other sides of The Wonder Year’s sound. First, “I Won’t Say The Lord’s Prayer” begins as somber as possible with Soupy belting about religion over light guitar before it explodes into the most determined track of the year. Comparable to “It’s Never Sunny” fused with “Dynamite Shovel,” only gigantic in scale and feel. Additionally, the album’s acoustic track, “I’ve Given You All,” delivers a softer side of the group fans have rarely heard on record. The light accompaniment helps Soupy’s lyrics hit in a way different than the group’s other material, which is well suited because the focus of the song is different. Having nothing to do with one’s self, this song focuses on others in need in the world and leaves you hanging on every word.

Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing is easily The Wonder Years best album to date. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it’s one of the best albums you’ll hear this year. By remaining true to themselves and not fearing growth, The Wonder Years have constructed an album that not only graphically depict’s a year of the human experience, but also manages to do so without sacrificing the basic elements that makes pop punk great (gang vocals, soaring hooks, crunchy guitars, and honesty). If you loved The Upsides, this album should have no trouble becoming your new best friend. If you’re new to the band, have no fear, you’ll surely fall in love just as fast.

Buy Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing when it hits stores June 14 and improve your music collection exponentially.

Score: 9.8/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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