Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Hopeless Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Daniel "Soupy" Campbell, the lead singer and lyricist of the Wonder Years, has never been a guy hesitant to wear his heart on his sleeve, which, of course, is part of the point of being in what is generally thought of as an emo band. But while Campbell has always had plenty to say about the stories of fellow kids from Philly trying to make sense of an often unforgiving world, he's chosen to take on bigger themes on the Wonder Years' fifth album. Released in 2015, No Closer to Heaven is a song cycle Campbell has written from the perspective of a man struggling to come to terms with the death of a loved one, and Campbell doesn't hold back a bit of the guilt, grief, anger, confusion, and hopelessness that roars through his psyche every time his thoughts turn to the departed.
The Wonder Years lead singer Dan "Soupy" Campbell spent three records exploring his own depression, subject matter that helped the Philadelphia-band quietly climb to the top of the current pop-punk heap. Shifting only slightly in terms of source material, No Closer to Heaven is reportedly a concept album about the loss of a loved one. It finds Campbell abandoning the plainspoken style of the past and diving deeper into metaphor, while simultaneously trying to find larger context for his pain.The record plays more like a collection of songs with similar themes than a straightforward narrative, with grief acting as the glue holding it together.
Over the past four years—and the course of three beloved albums—the Wonder Years have rapidly risen through the pop-punk ranks on their way to cementing themselves as the genre’s leading force. If the band’s fifth album is any indication, they seem unlikely to give up the throne anytime soon. Simply put: There’s not another band in this scene who could replicate what the Wonder Years have done here.