Album Review
The Wunder Years - Pitstops on the Road... Album Cover

The Wunder Years - Pitstops on the Road...

Reviewed by
The Wunder Years - Pitstops on the Road Less Travelled
Record Label: Tomato Head Records
Release Date: 1999
Not much can be more frustrating than listening to an album that easily catapults into your favorites and then learning promptly afterwards the band that made it is no longer together. On many occasions it feels like a waste of time. Not so with The Wunder Years’ Pitstops on the Road Less Travelled. It is unfortunate The Wunder Years flew so far under the radar during their time as a band. Their ability to put together a fifty-minute album that contains almost no filler astounds me.

Comparisons to Jawbreaker are obvious the moment the vocals kick in on “Go Kids Go.” However, The Wunder Years take this sound much further than most, and while their sounds are certainly similar, there is never any doubt this is an entirely different band. In fact, there are some points on Pitstops on the Road Less Travelled where they could be called a sane version of Bear vs Shark, due not only to the vocals, but their willingness to jump genres. Their songs also tend to be a bit long, with over half of the twelve tracks running over four minutes. I’ve always been one who believes this is rarely a good thing. Most of the time, songs over three minutes could easily be cut down and be much more enjoyable because of it. The Wunder Years are again an exception. No song seems to plod on longer than necessary. In fact, their length adds to the enjoyment of the album as a whole. I would be incredibly disappointed if Pitstops only lasted a half-hour.

As mentioned earlier, The Wunder Years do a good job of changing things up. The album opens up with two of the faster tracks on Pitstops. These songs lead into “Somewhere in the Middle of the Pacific” which begins with some odd grunts before finally settling down and taking a more lackadaisical approach vocally. This trend continues in the next two songs before reaching “Vacations/Seperations.” Something I haven’t really touched on, but should be apparent from the Jawbreaker comparison, is the amount of emotion that is put into each and every lyric. This is no more apparent than in “Vacations/Seperations.” It is easily the slowest and longest song and surprisingly doesn’t hurt the flow of the album. There is also a female backup vocalist to add depth to the song, and it really works well.

The pace picks back up with “Backstab” and makes its way to the cover song “Just What I Needed.” I am someone who has never understood releasing cover songs on albums. Maybe the key to liking them is never really liking the original song. Nevertheless it is easily the weakest song on the album and is why I used the qualifier “almost no filler.” Fortunately this leads into one of the catchier songs on the album in “Superbowl Sunday.” The final song on the album, “The Electric Shoes.” takes an unexpected turn and has heavy ska leanings. It works as a closer and is a good way to end a great album.

While it is disappointing the band is no longer together, that is really the only downside to listening to this record. There is not much better than leaning back in a chair after a long day, listening to a fifty minute album, and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Some bands fulfill the job of getting your blood pumping. The Wunder Years, on the other hand, are the type of band that takes care of the other much needed aspect of music that inspires those who listen to sit back and think about life, which is aptly indicated by the title Pitstops on the Road Less Traveled.
This review is a user submitted review from llmp. You can see all of llmp's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5
09:24 AM on 12/02/07
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llmp's Avatar
God, I hate synth.
03:38 PM on 12/02/07
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mattybobviously's Avatar
96? Are you joking?
03:48 PM on 12/02/07
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llmp's Avatar

Care to qualify your statement? Because, you know, I argued my side with an entire review.

EDIT: Oh, and picking out the rating as a reason to disagree with this or any review is asinine. Especially here at Absolutepunk. Reviewers are not able to give a "final" rating themselves here and have to work with the choices they are given. And I'm not going to play around with the reviewers tilt til I get the score I want.

You can disagree with it all you want. You can tell me I'm a terrible reviewer and I have bad taste in music. But to say I'm joking based on a rating...
06:03 PM on 12/02/07
Adrian Villagomez
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Adrian Villagomez's Avatar
Care to qualify your statement? Because, you know, I argued my side with an entire review.

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