After mailing fans a cryptic postcard with what appeared to be lyrics scrawled on the back and a mysterious unmarked 7″, Philadelphia punk legends the Wonder Years have officially returned with their first new song in over two years. “Sister Cities” is the title track to their new LP, and sees them jumping out of their comfort zone musically, with beautiful results.
From the first notes of the track, it’s already clear that the Wonder Years are stepping into uncharted territory. While their musical influences are different, the message is the same. The band’s decade-plus existence has allowed them to really work their muscle at songwriting, with a massive payoff.
“It started with journals and photos,” vocalist Dan Campbell said in a statement. “We started by documenting. We didn’t know where it would go or if it would go anywhere at all but we wrote it all down. We took photos of everything. And then when it came to putting it altogether, we had this catalog of how we felt and what it looked like and sounded like and we built from there. Figuring out what the moments were that stayed with me the most. When did I feel most connected to the people around me and why? What did being in this place during this moment teach me? It was a difficult year personally and globally and we experienced that through this lens of being everywhere but home, kind of floating through places and seeing how being there altered our perspective.”
These sentiments are expressed in the single, with Campell spilling his guts over the universality of struggle and loss, even from an ocean away. “I’m laying low, a stray dog in the street, you took me home, we’re sister cities,” he sings in one of the most melodic choruses the band has written to date. What was once well-executed, raucous exertions of raw emotion has morphed into a more composed, calculated attack on the heart. With this new song, the Wonder Years are stepping into uncharted territory for their band. Check out the beautiful Josh Coll-directed video for “Sister Cities,” which sees the band performing in a motel room intercut with clips of everything else that’s happened in the same room, above.
Sister Cities is out 4/6 via the band’s own Hopeless Records imprint, the Loneliest Place On Earth. Pre-order the record, along with a supplementary limited edition book of journal entries and photos from the writing process, here.