Bangarang / The Wonder Years - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Bangarang / The Wonder Years

Split (2006)

Forgive & Forget

Certain things are simply not made to ever be mixed. Take two activities I enjoy greatly: hockey and jet skiing. If I could spend half a day doing each of those for the rest of my life, I'd probably be the happiest person walking this entire Earth. I obviously couldn't do both at the same time, however. Those two things aren't meant to mix.

Neither are pop-punk and hardcore.

Now don't get me wrong, I love both genres. With the weather warming up now, the gorgeous sun outside, there's few things to accompany the days better than a great pop-punk record. That same pop-punk record, though, does not accompany hardcore. I don't care what Set Your Goals told you, when those two genres are mixed, it comes out awful.

The split between Bangarang and the Wonder Years is no exception at all.

Both bands are very similar in that they have a firm grasp on what it means to write a catchy pop-punk song. Bangarang's "We Dress to Impress" kicks the split off with an infectious blast of melody and mid-tempo riffs, and before long the dual-layered vocals are having somewhat of a harmonic battle over the foot-tapping beat, and then it happens. The song is ruined. A breakdown leads into a laughably bad attempt at growling vocals, before the guitars get downtuned and the riffs get heavier. It's just bad. They were doing fine in the pop-punk realm until they had to go and try to pull some hardcore elements into the mix. It doesn't gel at all, it rather sounds like two separate tracks were mashed together to form one disjointed song that should have found a home on the cutting room floor.

The Wonder Years' "Let's Moshercise!!!" is not able to avoid the mistake of their album-mates, as soaring vocals and poppy hooks lead way into an equally terrible breakdown/growl combination. The Wonder Years do have some hardcore undertones in their music, but those edgy riffs do nothing to lessen the abrupt blow of terrible hardcore that permeates an otherwise enjoyable effort.

This is why I will never jetski with a hockey stick and ice skates.