Matt Robnett; Drew Conner; Jake Caramanico; Nik Bruzzese; Will Yip; Vince Ratti; Joe Loftus; Matt Belanger
Number of Discs
51m : 26s
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel: Casey Cavaliere, Matt Brasch (vocals, guitar); Dan Campbell (vocals, ukulele); Nick O'Neil, Charlie Saxton, Josh Martin (vocals); Nick Steinborn (guitar, keyboards); Mike Kennedy (drums).
Audio Mixer: Vince Ratti.
Recording information: Skylight Studios, Fairless Hills, PA (08/2009).
Photographers: Mitch Wojcik; Mikey Shearer.
The Wonder Years may take their name from the nostalgic and heartwarming TV show, but there is no nostalgia on The Upsides and their hearts are way too anxious and emotional to be warm. Hot hearts, maybe. Their songs are filled with post-college angst, busted hearts, big questions, hope, anger, humor, and life. Vocalist Soupy Campbell delivers the words with total commitment and little artifice; he sounds like a regular guy, not a rock & roll frontman. The band's brand of emo-punk-pop is just as straightforward and unadorned. There's no Auto-Tune, no cheesy synths, and no nods to the pop charts. They simply take the best of each element of their conglomerated sound (the hookiness of pop, the heart-spilling fever of emo, the rambling energy of punk) and let it rip. Guitarists Matt Brasch and Casey Cavaliere join together for major riffage, trade off dueling lines, and basically tear things up while drummer Mike Kennedy is full of fury when he should be, but shows restraint when he needs to, and Nick Steinborn adds the occasional unobtrusive keyboard part. It's a time-honored sound but the Wonder Years make it sound fresh and exciting by doing it seriously right. The concept album-like feel of the words that flow like a diary's worth of observations, feelings, and events, the way the songs fit together like an intricate puzzle, and the bleeding humanity of the band also help The Upsides stand out among all the pretenders, phonies, and wanna-bes that clutter the record bins and thank-you sections of liner notes. The Wonder Years may not be doing anything new at all, but with this record they give emo-pop the kick in the head it so richly deserves in 2010 and provide an alternative for people who want some punch in their pop. ~ Tim Sendra
Alternative Press (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n inventive set of pop-punk anthems that alternate between technically powerful ragers and double-time pop-punk."