When Warm Soda turned in their fourth album to their label Castle Face, they informed the powers that be that the album was their last. Main Soda jerk Matthew Melton was closing up shop and launching Dream Machine, a new band with his wife that was more psychedelic in nature. While it's definitely a bummer that Warm Soda is done, they go out on a high note with I Don't Wanna Grow Up. The songs are the tightest, toughest, and hookiest batch Melton has written, the band plays them with precision and energy, and the production straddles the line between lo-fi and AM radio-readiness perfectly. In the past, the stripped-down production let the band down at times, but here it works perfectly thanks to the dynamic shifts and smart arrangements that layer the guitars, stack the vocals, and bring in the occasional keyboard. It's easily the group's best album, with almost every song sounding like a lost gem from the golden era of power pop. A few of them even could have been hits in an imagined past where the Rubinoos and the Plimsouls were in heavy rotation and the Real Kids sold millions of records. The three-song block "Tell Me in a Whisper," "To Be with Ramona," and "Don't Stop Now" is one any rock band, power pop or otherwise, would be proud to have on their résumé. So are the rest of the album's songs, whether sweet and romantic like "This Changes Everything," bubblegummy like "Gumdrop," or garage rock punchy like "Young in Your Heart." The combination of guitar riffs, powerhouse drumming, snappy melodies, piquant lyrics, and Melton's tender croon of a vocal makes for something pretty great. Ironically, I Don't Wanna Grow Up is Warm Soda's most mature and fully formed record. Great for their fans and anyone who ever loved power pop that they were able to make their mini-masterpiece before they ghosted.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra