Sister Cities

The Wonder Years - Sister Cities
Critic Score
Based on 10 reviews
2018 Ratings: #40 / 794
User Score
Based on 121 ratings
2018 Ratings: #627
April 6, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Hopeless / Label
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Fresh and ambitious without taking a step too far, Sister Cities is the Wonder Years' most fully realized work, and an artistic statement that deserves to be taken seriously.


Sister Cities is another entry in the secular gospel of the Wonder Years discography.

Under The Radar
There are layers aplenty to peel away here ... but even without probing that deeply it's clear that this is a phenomenal album that not only transcends genres but which also only feels like the next phase of a career already 13 years short that has a long and exciting future ahead.
Branching into soaring indie, expressive emo and ambitious post-rock; the Wonder Years will always know how to bring the hooks, but on Sister Cities, they’ve left the South Philly basement well and truly behind.
Offering up another soundtrack for the disenfranchised and downtrodden, ‘Sister Cities’ is a renewed example of just how powerful and poignant The Wonder Years can be.
The Line of Best Fit

The band have matured, and grown up; no longer is their staple diet pizza and pop-punk. Instead, Sister Cities is a sullen, brooding album in which the optimism of youth has bled out, replaced with a cathartic cynicism and gut-wrenching heartbreak.

There is absolutely no room for nostalgia in ‘Sister Cities’ as The Wonder Years purposefully step into a whole new era. They may have come out swinging from a South Philly basement in their early days but now they are at home on huge stages, and they have songs to match.

Fans of big, stadium-swinging hooks might find Sister Cities a sparser, more introspective affair than they prefer, but the band seems okay with leaving South Philly basements behind and seeing more of the world. After doing so much to put the spirit of their hometown into music, they’re aiming for something larger now.


The overall tone of Sister Cities is intense and, at times, comes across as unrelentingly dour. Still, the Wonder Years' maturation from suburban pop punk ennui to (literal) world-weary emo desperation feels like a logical progression, and it's hard to fault them for tackling bigger subjects.

Lyrically this is so fucking rich, there were a few times where I felt genuinely choked up by the poignancy and honesty. Instrumentally, it's all good but I'd have killed for something a bit more challenging or apt to the geographical concept the band were going for.

Sometimes music just indelibly touches you and renders from your soul the emotional volatility and reproaching hurt that it feels almost cathartic to just expunge, demons dwelt in the dark. This album is flawed, it lives in that anguish which pulled such sorrow from the lips of each word sung, and it wears said flaws and anguish as badges of solemnity for what has been shared within this album. It might not be the most unique album instrumentally, it doesn't conjure ... read more
For the most part, The Wonder Years on this album give us more of the same of what's made them such a mainstay of current Emo and Pop Punk for years. I wouldn't say this is as urgent and genre shifting as "No Closer To Heaven", and more often than not The Wonder Years are a little too far in their comfort zone. But the passionate performances, nostalgic lyrics, and solid production are all back in spades. Not to mention, it does seem like Wonder Years are further from the Pop Punk ... read more
It's somewhat generic. Didn't really enjoy it a lot. Altho it has has verry good melodies
The tour to promote their previous album proved to be a refreshing experience with an apparent, positive effect all over the "Sister Cities", making it a steady step to maturity.
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Year End Lists

#21/The Alternative
#45/Rock Sound

Track List

  1. Raining in Kyoto
  2. Pyramids of Salt
  3. It Must Get Lonely
  4. Sister Cities
  5. Flowers Where Your Face Should Be
  6. Heaven's Gate (Sad & Sober)
  7. We Look Like Lightning
  8. The Ghosts of Right Now
  9. When the Blue Finally Came
  10. The Orange Grove
  11. The Ocean Grew Hands to Hold Me
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Added on: March 11, 2018