For the better part of a decade, The Wonder Years have played the role of venerable flag-bearers in the alternative scene: raging main stage sets at major festivals, plenty of earnest critical acclaim, and sold-out headlining tours over five continents.
But the Philadelphia sextet’s last record, the grief-stricken and gloriously penned No Closer To Heaven (2015), felt like a bridge leading out of the sometimes restrictive genre, and into a larger rock community where its major-key riffs could mingle with more fateful undertones and emo-punk sensibilities.
And now, on the precipice of their fifth album, The Wonder Years jams more like Death Cab For Cutie than New Found Glory, yet still harnesses a handful of pumping hooks to commandeer the kids in the mosh pits.
Enter the band’s second Sister Cities single, a soaring track called “Pyramids Of Salt,” premiering today via Billboard.
It plays both sides of the band’s broader sound: bleak, stormy verses bolstered by a titanic, crashing chorus where frontman Dan Campbell wails hopelessly, “I drew a line in the sand/ with these worthless fucking hands/ you washed it away again.”
“‘Pyramids of Salt’ is a song about knowing there’s nothing you can do,” Campbell tells Billboard. “It centers around the universal feeling of being powerless, of knowing that no matter how much you love someone, that a day is going to come where you can’t heal them, where you can’t keep them safe.”
“Pyramids” highlights a record written largely on the road, one which unravels notions of distance, connectivity, and the way humanity towers above boundaries.
“We were getting ready to go tour through five continents and I knew that if we took the time to journal at least every couple of days that I’d build up this library of inspiration and when it came time to sit down and write, that I could open that all back up, reflect on what impacted me most, and then go from there,” Campbell says of the album’s roots, and how he came back to writing after a bout of writer’s block that plagued him during the No Closer To Heaven cycle.
The Wonder Years will head out on a headlining U.S. tour this spring; Tigers Jaw and Worriers will open, as will Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts — another exciting rock act with a terrific new record called Swell.
Check out “Pyramids Of Salt” above — and be sure to give a listen to the album’s first single “Sister Cities,” released last month, as well — and get ready: we’ve already heard Sister Cities and can’t get enough of it.