Warped and delicate, The Wonder Years gift us another perfect single with Pyramids of Salt
What a time to be alive. In the past few weeks, we have not only been gifted one new song by The Wonder Years but now, two. Pyramids of Salt comes as the second single from the band’s upcoming LP Sister Cities. The song was released with a video captioned ‘visuals’ on Billboard.com. For me, this was another reason to get excited by the Philadelphian 6-piece’s latest project. In the background of this video, a collection of bursting and recoiling images gives us a flavour of the artistic nature of this venture. The Wonder Years experimented with musicianship with their 2015 release No Closer To Heaven, now with Pyramids of Salt, it is clear to see that they have a passion to take this further.
Immediately, I was a little taken back by this track. Its opening is atmospheric, a style that has remained fairly untapped by The Wonder Years up to now. It feels as though this record is going to absorb the feel of music transcending all forms of art, even with a few moments of background noise I knew that it was time for something a little special. Before long we are joined by Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell who delivers a barrage of statements about the subject of the song, whether they are about a person or a place, they are nothing short of beautiful. “I saw you hiding in the ivy” is refrained throughout the opening verse and is used to jump between images. The title of the song makes an appearance shortly after, explaining that “getting ready for your winter here, you got pyramids of salt”, which addresses at the band’s relationship with life on the road. A warping riff joins the rolling vocals. From here, I knew that something was brewing. The extended metaphor of having a bird trapped in a chest comes to its crescendo with the lyric “sew you back up like a garden and grow flowers from your chest”, a personal favourite. The motifs of nature are used exquisitely in the opening verse by Soupy. The song pulses and exhales, the band and Soupy release a short burst of power and we are hit with the first chorus of the song. It may only be short but it is intense, stretching vocals of “I drew a line in the sand with these worthless fucking hands” allow the huge sound of the band to collide with one another in perfect harmony.
The drums add a different texture to the second verse, they skip between the vocals that continue to deliver a gorgeous selection of metaphors and similes. Lyrics such as “I drew a line in the sand with these useless fucking hands” help the song build as the vocals become a little more strained and flirt with eruption again. The second chorus is let go for longer this time and boy is it special. We run through it twice and you cannot help but nod your head to it, it is going to be an incredible experience if the band choose to play it at their live shows. The breakdown features a tinkering hi-hat which once again does a great job to build suspense. “I love you, and I’m sorry, and I understand” are the chosen words used to supplement the surge of power that is brewing. Upon first listening, I felt as though these lyrics were a little basic coming from a lyricist as talented as Soupy. However, upon further listens I noticed that the way in which these terms are repeated and shifted in this short period of the song is truly great. It works the listener into a frenzy, the strained vocals on offer here only add to that. Then it all cuts away and we have one last call from Soupy of “desperately” before the song slams home and we get the huge chorus for a final time. “I drew a line in the sand with these god damn useless hands” play the chorus refrain for a final time and it indicates that the song is coming to a close. I am always shocked by how quickly this song goes by when I listen to it.
I have been listening to this song on loop since it came out. If the album is anywhere near the calibre of the two singles that have been released thus far, we are in for a treat. Not only for fans of The Wonder Years or the genre’s that feature in their music, Pyramids of Salt is one for anyone who enjoys sound. I don’t think I have ever been so excited for a release before, please don’t make me wait. I need more.
You can catch the new release here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBkFXE-DvHY