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Album Review: The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation

30 May 2013 | 2:20 pm | James Dawson

The Greatest Generation is a perfectly balanced record that will undoubtedly be the band’s crown jewel in years to come.

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From the album's first track There, There you would be wrong in thinking that Philadelphia's pop punk heroes have grown old and have mellowed out. In comparison to the sextet's previous releases, The Greatest Generation is a tad more subdued, however vocalist Dan 'Soupy' Campbell has somehow managed to display more of himself through his lyrics than ever before. For instance, Dismantling Summer relays the story of a family member dying; while the music is pure pop punk, the lyrics suggest otherwise: I've been acting like I'm strong/But the truth is, I've been losing ground”. It is this direct juxtaposition that makes The Wonder Years so alluring; at first listen the band will have you bopping along happily, until a few listens on when the lyrics set in and the comprehension dawns on you. With references to lyrics off of previous albums – “Yeah I came out swinging” on The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves – it's a heartwarming in-joke for fans, as listening to a Wonder Years record is an experience for the listeners just as much as it is for the band.

The piano intro in The Devil In My Bloodstream is another quiet beginning to a song, and it pays off around half way through where the band explodes in a frenzy of self-loathing and regret. I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral, the band's longest song to date, is a perfect album closer, and towards the end of the track surprisingly runs through a medley of highlights from the album.

The Wonder Years have compiled yet another album that surprises with its ingenuity and honesty. At moments it's blissfully pop, at others melancholic. The Greatest Generation is a perfectly balanced record that will undoubtedly be the band's crown jewel in years to come.