Following on from the success of 2017’s ‘Burst & Decay’ EP, Pennsylvanian pop-punk outfit The Wonder Years are back with its sophomore offering, aptly named ‘Burst & Decay (Volume II)’.
Much like its predecessor, the EP adapts an accumulation of tracks plucked from the band’s extensive back-catalogue into renewed stripped back and more vulnerable versions of their original counterparts.
Opener ‘Washington Square Park’ is a standout right from the off, and is a track that was originally the lead single from the band’s second full-length, ‘The Upsides’, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. As an album which really put them on the map, it would’ve been nice to have another track included and to honour its decade of success, but this nevertheless is a fitting choice.
A welcomed addition to this effort is the introduction of a string section, contributed by Little Kruta String Quartet, who really add extra definition to these refreshed tracks. ‘Hoodie Weather’ adopts a whole new array of emotion, withdrawing its originals high-octane instrumentals really allows the lyrics to shine through and gives the song a whole new life.
‘We Look Like Lightning’ is fairly new to the band’s roster, taken from 2018’s ‘Sister Cities’, and it doesn’t offer much in terms of rearrangement as the original. It’s also a slower number, but the added delicate vocals of Alex Maniak (Shortly) redefines the tone as it evolves into an eloquent duet with frontman, Dan “Soupy” Campbell.
Another standout comes in the form of fan favourite, ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’, most likely to be the track that will still be playing in your head for hours after listening to it. With a new lease of life, this stripped back version really emphasises its iconic line, “I was kinda hoping you’d stay”, which will be a welcomed comeback to pop-punk fans everywhere.
This short and sweet acoustic EP is a nice filler record for The Wonder Years fanbase between albums. The reimagined versions makes you want to go and revisit the originals all over again, and hopefully this won’t be the end of the ‘Burst & Decay’ series.