by Natalie Dest
Springing up into the 2010 music scene, State Champs started their musical journey off as the underdogs.
Originating out of Albany, New York, this American pop-punk band has a similar sound to bands such as All Time Low and Mayday Parade, engaging fans with their fast punk-rock tempos and intense vocals.
Before signing to Pure Noise Records in 2012, State Champs were filling basements and small venues before their opportunity in releasing four EPs and two albums, including their most recent album released back in 2015, “Around the World and Back.” This pop-punk group has quickly dug their way out from the bottom, and are finally establishing their name within the music scene. However, their success didn’t spark overnight.
Although the band has received much support from bands such as 5 Seconds of Summer and All Time Low, State Champs’ musical success is undoubtedly because of the band themselves. Big thanks are in order to “The Finer Things,” an incredibly catchy and gripping album debut from the band back in 2013.
This was the release that spiraled State Champs’ recognition of their energy and innovation in the pop-punk genre. However, with an album such as “The Finer Things” setting the bar very high, this makes the task of creating a follow-up album of the same stature quite difficult.
Although the band’s most recent LP doesn’t quite hit the benchmark in terms of surpassing their past release, “Around the World and Back” features just enough catchy hooks, unique melodies, and musical proficiency that without a doubt impresses both fans and outsiders of the pop-punk genre.
Featuring their most recent hit single “Secrets,” “Around the World and Back” undoubtedly helped State Champs land the title of Best Breakthrough Band at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards. If anything is to be recognized about the band’s newest LP, it’s that the band successfully gave their record a pop-fueled style, while still incorporating the punk edge undertones that one would expect.
Their most notable single, “Secrets,” is a perfect example of this, starting the album off right by showcasing the strong musicianship within the band. The strong guitar progression and energetic drumming is distinct from their powerful instrumentation, much similar to the track “Eyes Closed.” Although this record is heavily influenced from this particular sound and the material is highly rhythmic, State Champs keeps fans interested with its varying meanings and lyrical content behind each song.
The track “Back and Forth” is very charismatic and toe-tapping, largely similar to the young and exhilarating attitude that comes from All Time Low’s release of “Nothing Personal” back in 2009. “Back and Forth” makes it clear the band’s capability to create memorable songs, even if the pace may be slowed down from their typical up-tempo tracks.
“Breaking Ground” follows the band’s musical variation between tracks, as the tone is much more edgier and empowering with its heavily punk guitar instrumentation, keeping the essence of pop punk alive and well.
Although this record has more musical variety when comparing to past LP “The Finer Things,” it can be said that “Around the World and Back” has a few tracks that are too similar to each other. As that may be the case, State Champs’ “Around the World and Back” is a record that should proudly stand on its own two feet regardless.
The continuous solid hooks, inspired songwriting and fresh lyrical ideas plant this album comfortably within the pop-punk scene. Whether a die-hard fan, or completely new to the genre, “Around the World and Back” showcases State Champs’ ability for the big time.
Catch State Champs on their 2017 U.S. Tour, featuring bands such as With Confidence and Against the Current. Tickets are currently on sale, with the tour kicking off on Apr 7.