Wonder Years - grown up enough

The Wonder Years played Saturday. Their latest albumis "The Greatest Generation."
The Wonder Years played Saturday. Their latest albumis "The Greatest Generation."
Posted: April 15, 2014

Taking one's name from a coming-of-age story says a lot about the Wonder Years. So does titling their latest album The Greatest Generation, after Tom Brokaw's book about World War II vets. The raging, ruminating Philadelphia Wonder boys think seriously about their time in the sun. Or so it would seem from their long, sold-out show at Electric Factory on Saturday, with Modern Baseball, Citizen, Fireworks, and Real Friends.

Rooted in driving pop with boyish harmonies and melodic bass lines (courtesy of Josh Martin), the band undid emo's credo of heartbreak at every turn, telling detailed stories about greed, dreariness, and a bird's-eye POV - literally on "My Life as a Pigeon." Dan "Soupy" Campbell went from croon to scream to chatter about portable life ("Everything I Own Fits in This Backpack") and outrunning one's past on "Cul-de-sac."

Along with yakking about Philly, living above a florist at Broad and Porter, and ripping the musical equivalent ("Local Man Ruins Everything"), songs like "Dismantling Summer" dedicated themselves to that greatest generation with lyrics about Campbell's grandfather and life from back porches to hospital rooms.

Wonder Years and the audience were particularly amped by the show opener, Philly's Modern Baseball. Arch but not too snarky, breezy guitarist/singer Brendan Lukens and his handsomely flat-toned cohort Jake Ewald and Co. ripped through the likes of "Your Graduation" with charming quirkiness and contagious melodies.

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