Best of 2016 Playlist

November 21, 2015

State Champs - "Around the World and Back" Review

We're sorry this took so long to post. But better late than never right? So without further ado, here's our very, very, VERY late review of State Champ's album "Around the World and Back". You can click this (link) to buy the album on iTunes. 

State Champs have has mastered the art of writing hooks and choruses. It's mainstream enough for radio airwaves, and still punk enough for their long time fans. Everything is better in this new album. Frontman Derek DiScanio have upped his vocal game. His performance makes the cheesiest of lyrics great. Dude's got charisma in spades.

The album kicks off with the New Found Glory-esc "Eyes Closed". Then comes lead single "Secrets" which packs a punch and sets the tone for the rest of the album. But the album's real standout is "Losing Myself". It's different than past SC songs, and shows the band's growing up (just a little bit). They shift from 00s pop punk for something more like A Day to Remember's pop punk, or recent All Time Low. It's very reminiscent of songs "NJ Legion Iced Tea", "Another Song About The Weekend", and "Cinderblock Garden". Radio friendly and more mature, State Champs is maybe giving us a peak at their future songs in this track. 

Other highlights include "All or Nothing", the album's title track and "Breaking Ground". "All or Nothing" mixes some slower alt. rock with SC's usual brand of pop punk. Mixed in are some very subtle electronics, which was a pleasant surprise. Similar to All Time Low's "Something's Gotta Give". Both have all the bounce and energy of a typical pop punk song, but the tempo is slowed and there's more mainstream rock incorporated.

The title track is a duet with Jule Vera singer Ansley Newman. It puts Neck Deep's acoustic "A Part of Me feat. Laura Whiteside" to shame (no offense Neck Deep). The two voices compliment each others' very well, unlike the latter's, which is more like a Beauty and the Beast performance. The title track is more like Aladdin and Jasmine, keeping with the Disney comparisons. DiScanio takes what he learned from the band's acoustic EP "The Acoustic Things", and channels it into this one song. Ansley's part is handled beautifully, and once mixed with DiScanio's, you get a hit. 

If you're looking for something more punk then go for "Breaking Ground". The crunchier guitars, and deep rolling bass give the song a stronger rock edge, like past songs. The palm muted verses, and solid drum line make this song a must have for fans of songs like "Gold Steps" by Neck Deep. It's rhythmic undertones translate well into the melodies in the bridges. The gritty solo is something straight out of hard rock. Then the band throws us for a loop with an R&B influenced bridge that completely works with song. You wouldn't think it would, but it really does. 

Summary - 
State Champs give us another pop punk hit for the 2015 yearbook. The upbeat energy and the nostalgic touch are what give them their star quality. It's not a giant step forward, but the band prove they're onto something great. Subtle changes to the band's sound make this album one hell of a listen, and keep fans begging for more. Along with label mates Four Year Strong, Hit the Lights, and The Story So Far, State Champs have made 2015 one of the best years for pop punk. We recommend this album for fans of Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck, and As It Is. 

Favorite Tracks - "Losing Myself", "All You Are Is History", the title track, and "
Breaking Ground

Rating8.5 to 9/10