The Wonder Years has been around for over ten years now, and in that time most bands seem to loose speed and creative paths in their music. Fortunately for us, the Pennsylvania pop-punk heroes have found a way of breaking any sort of routine or pattern in their music, and have started to reinvent themselves with each new album. Their latest release, Sister Cities is an example of just that.

From the opening moments of the first track ‘Raining in Kyoto’, you know you’re going to get something new with this album. A pounding drum is the foundation of the song and gives a steady drive for what builds to be an emotional and intense track. Along with more driving and riffy feeling ‘Sister Cities’, ‘The Ghosts of Right Now’ and ‘The Orange Grove’ you immediately know what the fellas have in store; driving drums and punk style riffing guitars surrounding Dan Campbell’s emotionally resonating vocals.

The rest of the album is something new from the band, with more delicate attention to arrangement and softness. It’s a breath of fresh air hearing each component of the band shine, instead of being buried under the over heavy production of a fast paced punk album.

Tracks like ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’, ‘Pyramids of Salt’, ‘When the Blue Finally Came’ and ‘The Ocean Grew Hands to Hold Me’ give The Wonder Years a new definition in the genre they play in. The tracks feel orchestral with focus on keys instead of strings, allowing a concentration on the delicate nature of each song in words and music.

The ability to engage with true emotion in both fast and slow paced songs is effortless. Maturity is the factor allowing the outlets of creativity to spread with ease for the band. The bands edges have softened over the years, creating elegant songs that allow for emotion to flow without hesitation. With that, they apply the same delicate attention to their quicker paced tracks giving depth instead of just speed. There is so much going on in the album itself, again feeling like a novel, which dissecting each track in its brilliance would take too long for an article. So why not listen to the album and enjoy what follows for yourself.


Sister Cities is out now via Hopeless Records.