The Wonder Years
12th November 2022

Time: 18:30 - 22:00

Price: £18 + BF

The Exchange Presents
The Wonder Years

14+ (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult)

For a number of years, this would have been an almost-blank page. Back in the mid-2010s, a few years  after The Wonder Years had first formed in Lansdale, PA, just north of Philadelphia, the band would be  asked to provide a bio for events they were playing. All Dan Campbell would write was ‘The Wonder  Years is a band’. That was it. They’d then receive the programs for whatever festival or event it was for  and laugh. Most bands, the frontman remembers, would write a “full page thing about how their last  record charted and ours would just be a blank page with those six words at the top.” A lot of time has  passed since then, and a lot has changed, although also not that much, at the same time. If The Wonder  Years – completed by guitarists Matt Brasch and Casey Cavaliere, drummer Mike Kennedy, bassist Josh  Martin and keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Nick Steinborn – could get away with a six-word bio, they  probably would.  

As it happens, when it comes to The Hum Goes On Forever, context is important, which is why you’re  reading these words. The most important reason is that this is the first record the band has made since  Campbell became a father. And so, when he sings its very first words – ‘I don’t want to die’ – on its very  first song, “Doors I Painted Shut”, they shimmer with a little extra poignancy and potency. Because as  someone who has sung candidly about how despondent he’s felt at times, thoughts of unexistence are  no longer possible. It doesn’t mean they stop, but Campbell can no longer succumb to the abject malaise  they induce. 

“You’ve got to pull it together,” he says, “because your kids are counting on you. These things that feel  hopeless – these massive cultural and societal, full-populace problems like climate change and school  shootings, all the things that you’re afraid of for your children – well, they only get fixed if you fix them. ‘I  don’t want to die – because I’ve got to protect you.’ It would be very easy to give in to the depression  and just kind of lay there, but my kids are counting on me, so I have to try to pull myself together and do  the work. ” 

That, then, is the crux of this record: his survival is more important than it ever was before. As Campbell  phrases it, “How do you take care of someone else that needs you when there are days that you barely  want to exist?” Now that he’s a father, the answer is a lot simpler than it used to be. Quite simply, he  doesn’t have a choice. Rather, he has to press on against the noise that’s been inside his brain for as long  as he can remember. That’s what the ‘hum’ of this album’s title is. Taken from a poem he wrote for Sister  Cities, it is, he says, a representation of the gloom he tends to carry with him. 

“Even when it’s not constantly in my face,” he admits, “there’s always a low hum of sadness, a low  rumbling of ennui. So The Hum Goes On Forever is the understanding that I’m always going to have it, it’s  always going to be there, it’s always been there for literal generations of my family and it’s important  that I accept that and live and work through it.”  

The Hum Goes On Forever, then, is the sound of The Wonder Years navigating those dark, cold waters,  bringing that ever-present pulse in the back of Campbell’s mind to vivid life, while also pushing it as far  back into his skull as it will go. It’s the kind of effect that’s only achievable through true collaboration and  understanding, something that defines how the band has operated from its inception. The six-piece  wrote the bulk of these songs in a farmhouse in the middle of Pennsylvania in the winter of 2021.This  was before vaccines were widely available, so they all quarantined for 14 days first. Then, after getting  vaccinated, they wrote together again in March, April and May, before tracking songs in June. Initially,  the idea was to just make an EP with Will Yip, but it instead became their seventh album, finished with  Steve Evetts, after the band decided the songs would be under-served on an EP. The result is a record  that captures the taught, fraught uncertainty of the period in which they were written, but also travels  back in time and memory to uncover and dwell on and inhabit leftover remnants of the past. It serves, 

too, as a revealing representation of how the six lives that constitute The Wonder Years interact with  each other. That happens both inside and outside of the band, obviously, but in terms of the former,  they’ve all grown together immensely as musicians. It means the band knows when to be restrained and  when to explode, filling in space and emptiness as needed to create a record that mirrors, sonically, the  heart-torn urgency at its core, the way these six individuals interact with each other, each an essential  component of a greater whole – as well as the next evolution of a band that’s never stopped growing,  never stopped striving, never stopped searching for the truth and the heart of this dumb thing we call  life.