October 2, 2022

Fans of pop-punk, emo and alternative rock genres will love the new release “No Closer to Heaven,” the fifth album from the Pennsylvanian band The Wonder Years.
It begins with “Brothers &,” a haunting and ethereal track that beckons the listener to join the band on an emotional adventure through the record, proclaiming over and over “We’re no saviors / If we can’t save our brothers.”
“Stained Glass Ceilings” and “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” are two of the most heart-wrenching tracks on the album. The former is an enticing observation from the outside on life and death, fear and regret, the rights and wrongs in a judgmental world . . . the power of pain and questioning one’s humanity, wondering if “maybe I could have made a difference.” The latter is an intense commentary on evolving as a person, regretting past mistakes for hurting someone you love and realizing it is time to say farewell to the person you were.
Another powerful track is “I Want So Badly to Be Brave,” in which a person speaks on watching someone they love suffering from the abuse of another, and the admiration of his/her bravery, wishing to be as strong as the other person.
The album has released two singles thus far, “Cigarettes and Saints” and “Cardinals.” “Cigarettes and Saints” is a reflection on the death of a loved one, an explanation for a man’s lack of faith and an annotation on the world’s inhumanity. “Cardinals” is of a mindset similar to “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then,” expressing the sorrow and regret for the past and things that cannot be changed through lyrics such as “I know that I failed you,” and “I want those years back.”
Throughout the work, the instrumentation repeatedly focuses on angry, rushed guitars and catchy drum beats that are reminiscent of former punk/rock glories such as blink-182, Fall Out Boy and Nirvana.

Despite this, the album ends the same way it began, with a quieter, mystic and reflective acoustic melody in the album’s namesake “No Closer to Heaven,” wherein self-reflection, spiritual relationships and a cruel and callous society are wearily questioned by a broken man still fighting for happiness, holding onto hope.
As a whole, the prominent themes to grasp from this album are those of nostalgia, pain, angst and regret, all portrayed within the branded powerhouse melodic lines and lyrical brilliance that only the Wonder Years can bring.

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