For Fans Of
2015 has been an excellent year for pop punk. State Champs are riding on the high of the genre right now, and their new album ‘Around the World and Back’ is going to keep them there.
It’s an easycore leaning record, meaning that it transcends the The Story So Far/Neck Deep deal of sounding like two releases from the same band. ‘Eyes Closed’ opens the record to mark that line, and the fast-tempoed strength of ‘Secrets’ reaffirms it. The final punch of the latter song is the closing line: ‘now I’m as good as gone’. It shows that State Champs have sought to master song structure in a way that’s somewhat tongue in cheek but also endearing. They reveal their prowler-sides on ‘Perfect Score’, that they pay attention to gym taglines on ‘Shape Up’, and that they’re perfectly capable of holding grudges on ‘All You Are Is History’.
Softer sounding is the acoustic of ‘Around the World of Back’, featuring Ansley Newman of Jule Vera. It functions as the token toned down track, a cute and cheesy tune with heartwarming harmonies towards the end. Not quite a ‘Remembering Sunday’, but emotionally effective nonetheless. State Champs go dark and catchy on ‘Breaking Ground’, reminiscent of The Cab, and drop a motivational closer with ‘Tooth and Nail’.
Musically, it’s all been described before, with the vocals being the shining differentiator. The drums, the guitars, everything; it’s all par for the course pop punk. Funnily enough, the flaw in the album is its consistency. The band has experimented to the extent that they remain popular in the scene without being exact replicas of Neck Deep and The Story So Far. But the issue lies in the fact that the experimentation only goes so far; they’ve created a single song structure and have virtually stuck to it throughout the entire album. Having said that, it’s worth noting that it’s a damn good one.
Pop punk is arguably the strongest niche in the alternative scene right now, giving State Champs a leg up without this solid and punchy release. We’re not quite sure if State Champs have literally ventured ‘Around the World and Back’ yet – they’ve been to Australia, which counts for quite a few kilometres – but this album will probably take them there.
1. Eyes Closed
3. Losing Myself
4. All You Are Is History
5. Perfect Score
6. All Or Nothing
7. Shape Up
8. Back and Forth
9. Around the World and Back (feat Ansley Newman)
10. Breaking Ground
11. Tooth and Nail