The Wonder Years’ sixth album Sister Cities is a darker record both lyrically and musically, shown in Pyramids Of Salt with it’s almost disturbing lyrics. While the instrumentation works well, at times some of the vocals are a bit strained, particularly in The Ghosts Of Right Now, a track which has a great riff. Raining In Kyoto opens with a mellow sound before the angst is shown with an increased emotion in the vocal delivery, accompanied by an increasing intensity in the instrumentation. It Must Get Lonely is one of the stand-out tracks on the album with it’s raw emotion, the track showcases the vocal ability of Dan Campbell.
A constant throughout the record is the presence of the drums, a testament to the talent of Mike Kennedy, where there is space to be filled on a track, he steps in with some intricate rhythm to effortlessly match the song and intensity, shown well in When The Blue Finally Came, a ballad with minimal instrumentation, but the ever-present drums creating a heartbeat to the song. Of course this does not detract from the rest of the band, all of whom come together to release this record full of atmosphere and creating an enchanting sixth full-length. It’s not as upbeat or energetic as their previous efforts, however it is a new and great direction for The Wonder Years.