The Wonder Years have just released No Closer To Heaven, their follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2013 release The Greatest Generation and it is a worthy sequel filled with huge choruses, incredible guitars, pounding drums and heartfelt, hard-hitting lyrics.
The start of the album has an intro, Brothers & leads into lead single Cardinals. The vocal melody and lyrics in the intro is repeated in Cardinals which is something the band have often done in past releases. The song starts slow and has a well-executed buildup into a hard-hitting verse full with incredible guitar work and abstract, yet well constructed drum beats. The abstract drumming style is something that also features in A Song For Pasty Cline and I Wanted So Badly To Be Brave. Drummer Mike seems to be trying to put as many hits on the kit as he possibly can and it works, but maybe toning it down would bring a more full, solid, defined sound.
The band have evolved their song writing by introducing slower songs like Cigarettes & Saints and You In January. The time that songwriter Soupy spent performing as Arron West has clearly benefited the bands ability to write different songs and the instrumentation has improved, featuring a heavier melodic influence, whilst also introducing different drumming styles and giving the bassline a bigger part in the songs.
Overall the album is a great follow-up to the bands last album, however, it’s not quite as strong – it is a good effort with a new mature sound, but not quite as polished. No Closer To Heaven is one that will continue to push the band but the band are slowing down with their rapid growth and need something to kick them back into the spot light.