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Album Review: The Wonder Years - The Upsides

If you're looking for an upbeat pop-punk album, full of positive energy then The Wonder Years' latest effort, 'The Upsides' is the album for you. From opening track 'My Last Semester', a lyrical theme of moving on is firmly established, as Dan "Soupy" Campbell states "I'm not sad anymore, I'm just tired of his place".

Throughout "Soupy" provides an introspective and personal account of his life, as he takes a somewhat sunnier approach to life, with 'Logan Circle' and 'New Years With Carl Weathers' being fine examples. The latter declaring that its going to be the bands year and with a collection of songs like this, it could well be.

Elsewhere the band speak about being on the road and away from home. 'Hostels & Brothels' tells the tale of events of being in the city of Leeds, but at the same time wanting to be home. Whilst 'Melrose Drive' is about missing a former love ("I guest I'll be honest, I'll could use you around now"), which adds an extra dimension to the bands song-writing, as Campbell is more open then ever before.

Musically the band break no boundaries and is more or less you're standard pop-punk album, which hits all the right notes. The drums and the occasional guitar part are given the chance to shine. 'Washington Square Park' is driven by thumping drums and scratchy guitars. Although Soupy's words often take centre stage throughout, as the band show progression.

Another highlight is 'Hey Thanks', which sees the band taking a breather, as Soupy is joined by a ukulele, trombone, and great guest vocals from Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer's Rachel Minton. It is a track that shows the progression and slight variation, as it helplessly bounces along. Closing track 'All My Friends Are In Bar Bands' also sees the band roping in a few friends; Shane Henderson (Valencia), Dave Mackinder (Fireworks), Matty Arsenault (A Loss For Words), Jamie Rhoden (Title Fight), Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard), as the band round off the album perfectly as Soupy is enable to move on and bring closure, as his friends declare their not sad anymore, nor are they tired of living where they are.

'The Upsides' does have the subtle flaw but for the most part, its near-perfect from start to finish. It's an enjoyable record, with lines that having shouting in unison at the bands live shows. This collection of songs and this band ultimately thrive off positivity and what they do. They simply don't have anything to be sad about anything anymore, as the only way is up now for The Wonder Years.


'The Upsides' by The Wonder Years is available now through No Sleep Records.


Sean Reid

Alter The Press!