Pop punk may allegedly be dead, but The Wonder Years somehow pushed the boundaries, brought new life to it and resuscitated the dying genre with this year’s effort The Greatest Generation. The painful honesty in Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s lyrics paints this vividly relatable picture and however simplistic they may sometimes feel, the sheer passion in his voice when he sings “I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times” on opening track ‘There, There’ really feels like a man trying to break out of his cage.
The band themselves really step into the limelight by treading new ground with ‘The Devil In My Bloodstream’, which is one of the first Wonder Years tracks to be lead by a piano and features the luscious vocals of folk songbird Laura Stevenson. Beautifully contrasting with this is the relentless ‘The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves’, with raw and aggressive drum work from Mike Kennedy who creates infectious drum fills.
And then there are the little easter eggs that are scattered around the lyrics for fans. Snippets of lyrics from previous albums circulate through the album as well as references to people and events in history like the death of Jerome Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles as well as President Truman dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Don’t even get me started on ‘I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral’, which feels like the big encore with a reprise from our favourite cast members and ties the central theme of the album up nicely.