The Wonder Years

Get Stoked On It!

Written by: PP on 16/12/2007 04:02:41

"Get Stoked On It!". The title says it all. I don't remember a time when I would've been this stoked about a band or a record as about The Wonder Years. That is also the reason why this review has been so delayed, because realistically, I could've written this review in mid October and written the exact same words, but the thought of this record passing away from my "to be reviewed, intensive listening" list so soon just didn't align with the title at all. It is the only album that has made top15 in my Last.fm most listened artists in less than two weeks, ever. "'Bout To Get Fruit Punched, Homie" and "Keystone State Dude-Core" have rocketed into #2 and #3 position respectively on my most played songs ever list, in almost no time at all. Dear readers, if you choose to only believe one thing I write all this year, make sure this is it: "Get Stoked On It!" is the best pop punk-hardcore fusion record of 2007. Now I understand that's quite a statement to make and something I'll have to boldly defend, considering the amount of (unwarranted, if you ask me) criticism this record has received in about 80% of reviews across the web. But as you'll come to realize from this review, these reviewers must either be deaf, or really, really hate having fun, because fun is what this record equals to; I'm officially hereby nominating it also as the funnest record of 2007.

So The Wonder Years plays a hybrid of hardcore, punk, and pop, borrowing from bands like Set Your Goals, Daggermouth and Four Year Strong, adding in some old school New Found Glory freshness into the mix, but with more humor than all of those bands put together. The Wonder Years aren't particularly original, but they don't want to be either. What this band wanted to do was to sing songs about pirates, ninjas and about problems in everyday life for the poor people, and spice all that up with enough humor to make you forget about those problems and just dance away the night to the sounds of the record. Not to create a new genre, not to re-invent the wheel for pop punk, not to create something you could call 'artistically beautiful'. They sing in off tune at times, there are glitches in the guitars, the production is only in the low-to-medium range, but they are freaking stoked about doing it, as one quick listen to a song like "Dude, What Is A Land Pirate?" will reveal: "Well sweetheart you don't understand, pirates weren't made to dance".

The band has no trouble diving head first into the world of fast punk rock, as one listen to the rumbling "Keystone State Dude-Core" will tell you aside from settling you in the mood of the album: "We know the way that shit gets sometimes, bank account's empty and gas price is too high..". Vocalist 'Soupy' leads with clean high notes but isn't afraid to lead the occasional gang shout either, whereas "Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy For Second Space" works as evidence that the band definitely knows how to write an insanely catchy chorus and fill it with equally catchy hooks; this is a song that'll have you singing along by the second chorus for sure. As for hardcore, "'Bout To Get Fruit Punched Homie" starts off with a heavy dose of fast punk rock and gang vocals, before landing a massive breakdown in the end with screamed vocals about disconnecting "Captain Crunch's neck". This all while over joyous Motion City Soundtrack-esque synths burst the upper end of the happy barometer and then some. When it comes to acoustic songs, few bands can insert a completely acoustic ballad right in between two of the best songs on the album and make it compete for that very title; "Racing Trains" is quiet, but yet it's infectiously catchy and its lyrics are a touching reflection of everyday life for commuters: "There's always someone on the train with me, who wants to talk about everything when I just wanna fall asleep, the train is late for the third time this week, every day it's raining around 9:15.."

As for the lyrical content, it's a full 10 from me if that's all I was to rate this album on. With topics ranging from the touching relationship metaphors in "Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy For Second Place" through the humorous "I Fell In Love With A Ninja Master" drawing parallels to throwing ninja stars into a breaking heart, all the way to the ridiculous and retarded "about to disconnect, the captain's neck and make a wish that he was dead" screams referring to Captain Crunch in "'Bout To Get Fruit Punched, Homie". After all, who couldn't love a band who is able to relate pretty much anyone into their lyrics by singing "We fell asleep, waaatching T-V, and the images worked through into my dreams.." in "'What If We [Swam] Into Nothing?'", or make you laugh out loud by singing about why you should be afraid of zombies in "Zombies Are The New Black"?

There isn't a moment on the album where you wouldn't be smiling or laughing at the band's somewhat naive songwriting or lyrics, but that's also what makes the album so goddamn fun to listen to. Whatever the occasion, I know I can just pop on "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong" and know everyone in the room's gonna be stoked on the music and have a great time. Whether it's the ecstatic synths of Motion City Soundtrack or the cheery pseudo-hardcore gang shouts of Set Your Goals you are looking for, The Wonder Years has it all, and then some. The band themselves puts it the best in the ending gang shouts of the opening track "Keystone State Dude-Core": "WE'LL, GET, STOKED, ON, IT!!!!"

9

Download: Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy For Second Place, I Fell In Love With A Ninja Master, "What If We [Swam] Into Nothing", Keystone State Dude-Core
For the fans of: Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, Motion City Soundtrack, Daggermouth, New Found Glory
Listen: Myspace, Purevolume

Release date 30.10.2007
No Sleep Records

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