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wonderyearsThere’s some anonymous internet commenter that gets mad at me every time I mention Philadelphia’s THE WONDER YEARS on this site. Specifically, they take issue with my comments regarding a fictional character from the late television series from which the band borrowed it’s name, and to the furry on the cover artwork on SUBURBIA I’VE GIVEN YOU ALL AND NOW I’M NOTHING. I usually get either a comment on the article, or an email sent through some anonymous email proxy. Weirdness aside, SUBURBIA (out now on Hopeless Records) is a pretty smart slice of pop punk goodness.

When I declared 2011 as “The Year that Pop Punk Strikes Back” this past February, some scoffed at the notion. Six months into the year, THE WONDER YEARS prove me right.

Right out of the gate there’s a vibe that reminds me a lot of ALLISTER on Came Out Swinging and Woke Up Older. The melodies are tight, the lyrics meaningful, and music upbeat despite a certain grittiness to it. Alebit a short nod at only 52 seconds in length, the track Suburbia sums up the plight of our country right now – all the businesses are closing down, things are changing, and what was once a haven is becoming a hell or sorts. Throughout the album there’s a feeling that this could easily be a Fall record, and Hoodie Weather seems to cement that fact (in title) even though we’re smack-dab at the end of June.

The Bottom Line: THE WONDER YEARS have crafted a fine collection of pop punk that rises above the oft-juvenile realm of their peers, and could be setting them up for a lengthy career a la JIMMY EAT WORLD.

Rating: 4/5

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