There’s a devil on my shoulder. He’s got a rocking chair on my front porch, but I won’t let him in. No, I won’t let him in.
To a lot of people who enjoy pop-punk and The Wonder Years in particular, Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing is the benchmark for the genre. It’s aggressive, passionate, and honest - it’s the pièce de résistance.
Nearly two years later, it’s time to turn that “is” into “was,” as that benchmark has been obliterated by the Philly sextet’s new album, The Greatest Generation.
Believe me when I say that The Greatest Generation features the 13 best Wonder Years songs to date. I cannot think of any other band in the genre that has to can do what this album has accomplished.
Immediately, opener “There, There” lets the listener know that countless hours, sweat, blood, and tears were spent on this album and that the band gave their all. It sets the tone - brilliantly blending slower, melancholy melodies with a punk rock energy. It’s weary yet uplifting - a theme you’ll hear and understand throughout. You’ve all heard “Passing Through A Screen Door” by now. It’s fantastic and the closet you’ll get to a Suburbia redux but rather it’s setting up fans for something they won’t get. It’s definitely the hands down favorite for having the most lyrics tattooed on fan’s forearms.
The recently released “The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves” kicks off the best portion (tracks 5-8) of the album. ”The Devil In My Bloodstream” is something I’ve been waiting for the band to do forever - piano is great, reminds me of Ben Folds in a way - very emotional and personal, something Soupy does very well with his vocal inflections. The female vox (courtesy of Laura Stevenson) give the perfect contrast to Campbell’s rough vocals. The rise in volume/climax at the end feels completely natural as well instead of feeling shoe horned in like some bands do. ”Teenage Parents” is an improved take on that mid-00s punk sound, with the little strain on Soupy’s voice on “ALLL we had were hand-me-downs” totally reminding me of later-era The Startling Line.
“Chaser” feels like the heaviest song the band has done, just in terms of how the riff is delivered without that pop buoyancy. Campbell sings in a lower register which also adds to this. ”An American Religion” is ferocious while maintaining a little bit of melody on the chorus - it’s definitely the “angry” song on TGG - it should come with a warning at live shows: “WATCH OUT FOR FLYING BODIES.”
The final one-two punch of “Cul-de-sac” and “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” is what makes this album, in addition with the middle portion. Songs like these is what sets this band apart from the rest of the nu-punk crowd. The guitar work in the former is some of my favorite on the album and the give-and-take shouts between Campbell and (I believe) Josh Martin are fantastic. The bridge is also one of the very best the band has ever wrote.
But the aforementioned closer track is the one though - it’s the one that sets this album apart from the other TWY albums. I still don’t want to give away the general idea of this song, but just make sure you listen to the first twelve tracks in order before hitting play on this one. The build-up to this track adds to its greatness. Anyways, “Funeral” is earnest, honest, urgent, etc. - it’s basically combines all the best qualities and traits of the band and places into a near 8 minute triumph. Is there a current pop-punk band that could pull this off? Definitely not. Hell, there may not be many pop-punk bands from the last 10 years that could pull this off.
Thomas will be blessing us with a probably 8000 word review (only a slight exaggeration) on the site later this week, but I just wanted to get out some quick thoughts and overall impressions on this album. Fair warning: this album may ruin all past, current, and future pop-punk releases for your ears, as The Wonder Years have finally created the album that the rest of the genre will aspire to.
Our senior editor, Drew Beringer, chimes in with some thoughts on The Wonder Years’ upcoming new album, The Greatest Generation, which hits stores next week. You can pre-order it here.
AbsolutePunk.net Show Review: Silverstein at The Roxy Theatre (Los Angeles, CA; February 5th, 2013)
I wrote yesterday that the reason Silverstein has outlasted a number of its peers throughout the years is because of the growth and maturation in its songwriting. There’s another element to this as well - the passion, intensity, and energy one puts into touring and the live performance are essential. Bands also fade out because they lose the passion to go out night to night and leave their guts and heart on the stage. This isn’t the case for Silverstein, who played its first show at The Roxy Theatre in 9 years. It’s one of the smaller venues in Los Angeles and with the show being sold out, it was packed to the gills, which just added to the night’s overall atmosphere. Last night was a special night for the tour as Silverstein’s latest album, This Is How The Wind Shifts, was released that day. So maybe that occasion gave the band extra incentive to burn the house down. Opening with “Stand Amid The Roar,” Shane Told ripped into the song and set the tone for the night. The song has one of the coolest riffs on the new album and guitarists Josh Bradford and Paul Marc Rousseau unleashed them with ferocity. The energy didn’t drop once, as the band tore into “Sacrifice,” “Bleed No More,” and “Your Sword Versus My Dagger.” Things really got going with chaotic “S.O.S.” - Billy Hamilton’s bass work got everyone’s feet moving, while the breakdowns in “American Dream” and “In Silent Seas We Drown” led to some frantic call and returns between Told and the audience.
There were plenty of standout moments throughout the night, including Rousseau joining drummer Paul Koehler on the stunning “In a Place of Solace” to create a booming build-up to the song’s colossal climax. Another fantastic moment had Told coming out by himself for the encore and playing an acoustic version of “Call It Karma” before the rest of the band joined him back on stage. It was chilling to hear Told’s lyrics echoed by the crowd; giving the song a unique take.
And of course Silverstein gave the crowd plenty of fan favorites to make this a memorable show. “My Heroine” was played to perfection, while the pit opened up on the classic “Smashed Into Pieces” and bodies were flying during all-time fan favorite “Smile In Your Sleep.” Overall, Silverstein’s set had a nice balance of old and new songs; the band making sure there is never a dull moment. Silverstein’s performance was as strong as any band I’ve seen recently, hitting all their notes and marks flawlessly. If this show is coming to your town, do not hesitate to pick up tickets, as the smaller venues lead to a more intimate and personal show. And make sure you pick up the band’s new album This Is How The Wind Shifts ASAP too - you”ll want to know the words to latest rippers like “Massachusetts” and “On Brave Mountains We Conquer.” This is the best Silverstein has ever been - don’t miss it.
original post here
Check out Drew’s review of Silverstein’s show last night.
We recently sat down with Dan “Soupy” Campbell of The Wonder Years and discussed the band’s current tour with Yellowcard and We Are The In Crowd, the band’s outside-the-box thinking on merch, and what it’s like being someone’s hero. Check it out here: http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?p=115366812#post115366812
AP.net Industry Chat Announcement: Hopeless Records Family
This Thursday at 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST, a few members of the Hopeless Records team will be chatting with us here on AP.net. We’ll have Ian Harrison, Natalie Schaffer and Melissa Becerra from the label’s marketing department; Lizzy Welch, Jessie Schroeder and Erin Choi from operations; and Eric Tobin, who is the director of sales and handles A&R. Basically it will be a unique chance to get some up-close-and-personal time with one of the more successful indie labels in our industry and ask them about how it works on the inside. You can ask questions to specific departments or about how they all interact, or ask them what the All Time Low guys smell like or how many of The Wonder Years snore on a nightly basis. See you on Thursday!