The Wonder Years/All Or Nothing - Distances
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: March 10, 2009
Admittedly, Distances is a cool concept. Take two bands, one from the states and one from the U.K, who play similar versions of pop-punkcore and see if they can create a decent record. With split records it usually boils down to one band outshining another, but due to extremely comparable sounds, Distances is more collaboration than split. For most of us Americans, The Wonder Years are well-known for their less than serious takes on everyday life. All Or Nothing, however, are just starting to blossom over here, so to be featured on a record like this should do wonders for their international fan club.
Whereas bands like Four Year Strong or A Day To Remember make their living off crushing breakdowns, both these bands stick much closer to the pop-punk of years past. In fact, TWY’s “An Elegy for Baby Blue” is more like plain ol’ punk in its verses and plain’ ol pop in its chorus (with their signature synthesizer, of course). So you’ll get your faster than fast rockers and catchy choruses without the weight of a super-serious breakdown. All Or Nothing’s “I’m Not Being Rude, But I Could Have Had Your Job” is an excellent introduction to the band. Crunching riffs intermingle with surprisingly technical drumming, but Tom Chong’s high-pitched voice is the true turn-on. He sounds like a scrawny dude pushed to his limits (or, if you like, the singer of Race The Sun). Each of the split’s five songs comes at us with force and fun, a riotous combination to be sure.
As All Or Nothing have 3 of the 5 tracks, think of this as their billboard on I-44. The Wonder Years are merely their “celebrity” endorsers. But on the strength of songs like “This Is Very Impossible” - which is sadly only available digitally - All Or Nothing won’t need much help for long. Their reluctance to go double bass-crazy is respectable, while a high-flying guitar solo takes the song from punk-and-done to repeat-button-rocker. (Am I losing my wit? Help?)
I admit my initial interest in Distances was due to Soupy and the Boys™; now I have a new band to fawn over. (Urges to seek out AON's 2006 release Dead Money are normal and encouraged.) There’s no clear winner on Distances, which in this case is a magnificent feat. From minutes 1 to 14 we get unified, clever pop-punk (especially TWY’s “Don’t Open The Fridge!”) that respects its elders before expecting anything back. Both bands have hit their stride, and both will only get bigger.
Recommended If You Like: The Starting Line, Race The Sun, Hell's Kitchen, New Found Glory, Nanny 911
The pre-order for this record is almost sold out. I think there are something like 10 individual records left and 10 packages. If you don't live close enough to either band to get one of the 60 copies we'll each have, I would pre-order because, unless you find it in Hot Topic, once it's gone... it's gone. No repress. 1000 copies. That's it forever.