For anyone who is even remotely aware of The Wonder Years and the current pop-punk scene, it’s clear to see that the sextet have something slightly more about them than most other bands in the same arena; be it the connection with their fans, the relatability in Dan “Soupy” Campbell‘s lyrics, or the way that they make live shows feel so intimate regardless of the size of the stage that they’re on.
It’s all something that they make look so effortless, yet it comes with a lot of hard work, and, ever since 2015’s ‘No Closer To Heaven’ was released, that’s what the band has had; two years of touring and hard work.
So, you wouldn’t be foolish to think that a little time off is just what the doctor ordered. After all, touring is a curse as much as it is a gift, and it can take its toll on even the most well-adjusted of bands. Having said all this, this is The Wonder Years that we’re talking about. They don’t do anything unless they want to, and it seems that they wanted to give the fans something a little different. With ‘Burst & Decay’, they’ve done just that.
This release sees the band releasing an EP of seven of the band’s favourite tracks spanning their career, acoustically reworked. If you’re a cynic then you could be thinking that this is just another ploy for the band to get another release under their belt and to sell more records, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
From the get go of ‘A Song For Ernest Hemingway’, it’s clear that this is something that has been carefully constructed and thought about for a long, long time. Beginning with Campbell‘s haunting vocals and a solo acoustic guitar, the track swells into full blown acoustic folk that’s completely unrecognisable from its original release.
‘There, There’ is one of the band’s most loved tracks, so it’s no wonder that it has stayed fairly close to its roots with its reworked form. With that being said, it’s one of the EP’s most emotive tracks with the harmonies and melodies absolutely shining through. It’s also one of two tracks here that feature backing vocals from Long Island singer/songwriter Laura Stevenson, and it works so damn well.
‘Coffee Eyes’ is a definite stand out, and showcases Campbell‘s vocal range ability as he yells “There’s always been a table for me there” over a plethora of acoustic guitars, a cello, and a trumpet. Musically, this track is up there with the best on the EP, with instrumental interludes and impromptu gaps in the melody that are timed to perfection.
‘Don’t Let Me Cave In’ showcases the band’s ability to completely strip a song apart and start afresh. It has evolved from a fast-paced pop-punk song, to a melodic piano based, harmony filled ballad.
It’d be easy to pin point how every track here makes for a phenomenal EP, but we’d be here for a while. One thing is for sure, ‘Burst & Decay’ is completely different to anything else that the band have put out during their whole career, and, it feels like the perfect ending of one chapter for The Wonder Years. Here’s hoping that we’re not waiting long for their next one to open.
Written by Jacob Eynon (@itsjustjake93)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989. | Aspiring freelance pizza eater.