State Champs

The Finer Things

Written by: PP on 18/12/2013 21:55:10

You'd imagine that writing a polished pop punk album in 2013 would have your band dead in the water considering the dominance of the emo pop punk scene spearheaded by The Wonder Years and Man Overboard, but that's not how State Champs see things on their debut album "The Finer Things". They display a brazen approach of drawing from the mid 2000s pop punk movement, back when poppy pop punk bands like Hit The Lights and Cartel were exploding onto the scene, but they do it with enough enthusiasm and infectious energy that it catches on its listener regardless.

Basically, imagine the over-the-boards and in-your-face energy of The Story So Far, put it together with A Loss For Words' early, more bouncy material, then turn your head towards New Found Glory style massive hooks and vocal harmonies, and you're starting to describe State Champs fairly accurately. It's nothing original, of course, but their capacity for writing infectiously catchy choruses is not to be underestimated, nor is the variety in their songs brought by dual vocal lines alternating both within and between songs. One guy sings with similar over-enthusiasm as Parker Cannon of The Story So Far, whereas the other vocals (which are more of in a backing role) sound like Ronnie from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is lending his vocal work on a pop punk album. There's the occasional emo pop punk reference, a nod towards The Wonder Years if you will, but primarily we're in the polished, exceptionally clean territory, which could easily be boring but is saved through liberal use of high-tempo melodies, crunchy riffs, and superb vocal hooks to drive the record home even in a genre as saturated as pop punk is today.

Frankly, it all sounds like it could've come out in 2005 or 2006, but because of the enormous amount of energy State Champs have in their expression, it actually works without sounding dated at all. They play polished pop punk with hearts on their sleeve, and don't apologise or cover up for their sound at any point of the record. In fact, with all the emo pop punk going around, it's actually refreshing to hear a record going back to the roots of the 2nd wave of pop punk - even if we can almost certainly expect a slower tempo and more balladic approach to songwriting on their next record.

Download: Elevated, Simple Existence, Remedy, Nothing's Wrong
For the fans of: The Story So Far, New Found Glory, Hit The Lights, City Lights, A Loss For Words
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.10.2013
Pure Noise Records

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