The Wonder Years – No Closer To Heaven

Slow’n It Down This Time ‘Round

web1_Wonder-Years-album-art2Release Date: September 4, 2015
Label: Hopeless Records, Inc.
Rocks Like: Neck Deep, Real Friends, State Champs
Recommended Track(s): Cardinals, I Don’t Like Who I Was Then, Cigarettes & Saints
Rating: *****

Coming in at #9 on the Billboard Top Album Charts and #12 on the Billboard Top 200, The Wonder Years are taking over the charts with their new album “No Closer to Heaven.” Be sure to check out their new music videos for “Cardinals” and “Cigarettes & Saints” here! Read on to hear what we think of the album that’s taking The Wonder Years higher than ever.

The album opens with “Brothers,” an orchestral track that creates a very serious tone with its reverb guitars, eerie drumming, and an emotive choir. We know what you’re thinking, an orchestra? A choir? Is this pop-punk? The Wonder Years are definitely stretching the way we define pop-punk and creating a more mature and diverse sound.

“Cardinals” has got the right amount of force to lead us into the album, and personally, it’s one of our favorites! Although this track, as well as the entire album, is much slower than what we usually expect from The Wonder Years, its downtempo does not make listening to it any less interesting. “Cardinals” also features the choir section from “Brothers” that backs up the vocals and compliments the song perfectly. Both tracks were actually featured on the Fox NFL Kickoff this week, so we can say with conviction that The Wonder Years are officially reaching new heights.

In “A Song For Patsy Cline,” the full band really comes through. It’s definitely one of those tracks that you listen to with headphones to hear each member’s individual part. One of our favorites, “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then,” sounds the most like the old familiar sound of The Wonder Years. Again, they really utilize the full band in this track, creating an evolved sound with more depth.

Another favorite follows, “Cigarettes & Saints.” It appears to be slowing us down, but then you feel the momentum begin to build up again and it hits you with a powerful, emotionally driven chorus. This song is about being betrayed by the system that you trusted, and the difficulty in breaking free from it. The coda perfectly concludes the track with, “You can’t have my friends. You can’t have my brothers.”

“A Song for Ernest Hemingway” and “Thanks for the Ride” are perfectly placed in the middle of the album to remind you that although The Wonder Years may sound different, the pop-punk roots are still there. We guarantee that the phrase, “I’ll be your dead bird, you’ll be my bloodhound,” will be stuck in your head!

“You in January” is a beautifully written ballad. The lyrics and stretching tone of Dan “Soupy” Campell’s voice really allows you to feel the authenticity and realness of this romantic piece. Who wouldn’t love hearing, “You were the one thing I got right?”

For you acoustic fans out there, like myself, “No Closer to Heaven” will easily become one of your favorite tracks. It perfectly ties the entire album together by referencing the messages of previous tracks, like “Cardinals” and “A Song for Ernest Hemmingway.” It’s like a conclusion to an essay in the sense that it ends so comfortably. It’s interesting that they chose to conclude the album with an acoustic number, but we think this bittersweet ending was lovely!

It is often difficult for pop-punk fans to remain fans of this genre, as they grow older. Something about the expected themes of adolescence and growing up no longer appeal to those who have literally “grown up.” The Wonders Years have somehow managed to break away from the familiar pop-punk mold, and create for us a unique and mature sound that seems to have grown up with us. “No Closer to Heaven” is not your typical pop-punk album, and that’s why we feel it’s gained so much more attention, success, and even some new fans!

Track Listing:
1. Brothers &
2. Cardinals
3. A Song For Patsy Cline
4. I Don’t Like Who I Was Then
5. Cigarettes & Saints
6. The Bluest Things on Earth
7. A Song for Ernest Hemingway
8. Thanks for the Ride
9. Stained Glass Ceilings
10. I wanted So Badly to be Brave
11. You in January
12. Palm Reader
13. No Closer to Heaven

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