Posi-punk is a sub-genre of rock that I’m not a real big fan of. And The Wonder Years are that band that is currently representing the genre to its fullest. And to be blunt, I am not a big fan of them either. It’s not that I don’t think they can play – they seriously kick ass at a live capacity. My problem is how disconnected I am from the music – nothing from The Upsides and Suburbia stuck with me through these past four years. Surprisingly, my favorite thing the band has done so far was release this eighteen track rarity album entitled Sleeping On Trash.
Sleeping On Trash is a series of songs recorded from back in 2005 through 2010 – before The Upsides was an album. The first true track “Solo & Chewy: Holdin’ it Down” sounds like it could be released on their next album, as it instantly took my spot as Favorite Wonder Years track. “Christmas at 22” was an oddly out of place Christmas song (of sorts), which comes off as a rather charming acoustic ballad. And “Through Two Hearts” is the softest you’ll ever hear The Wonder Years – it makes me want their next release to have lots of these kind of slower, more gentle ballads, mixed in with their usual fare. Speaking of, there is plenty of club-jumping, mosh instigating punk to go around. Songs like the former “Solo & Chewy,” “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever,” and “Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy for Second Place” sound like the band we all know and listen to today – with maybe a tad bit more synths.
The covers, all three of them, are some of the best highlights on this collection. “Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems” (originally by Kid Dynamite) and “Zip Lock” (by Lit) fit into The Wonder Years repertoire seamlessly; I had to double-take when “Zip Lock” started playing to make sure it was a cover song. Lastly, there was Fountains of Wayne’s “Hey Julie,” a nice little love song that I wish The Wonder Years could perform themselves.
The biggest problem I have with The Wonder Years – which still holds true – is the lack of slower songs. “Hey Julie” is a nice change in pace, and “Through Two Hearts” is as gentle as I’ve heard the band, but the lack of variation is very troubling. I understand that this was back in 2005, but the lack of variation didn’t end with this collection. Both of their studio efforts lack a creative drive to make their efforts truly original. Instead, their problems (with me, at least) is lacking in a memorable album.
Don’t get me wrong, Sleeping On Trash is my favorite thing The Wonder Years have put out so far. It give the band that much more charm than I originally pinned them for. Though just as repetitive as their other more recent material, the tracks selected – including the covers – feels fresh and alive. I don’t know where The Wonder Years is going from here, but I’ll tag along for one another album more – hoping for a tad bit more variety. It’s always nice to see a band release some early seeds, though the two disc they’ve released so far doesn’t really warrant it.
Final Grade: B
Go Download: “Solo & Chewy: Holdin’ it Down”