Happiness

Album of the week : The Finer Things - State Champs

It’s no doubt that New York’s quintet pop punk group State Champs has been making waves since the release of its Pure Noise debut, Overslept, in 2012. Just over a year later, the band is ready to make its mark with its first full-length LP, The Finer Things. With incredible vocal range and intelligent instrumentals, State Champs is no doubt one of the most catchy bands in the genre. With familiar pop punk parts combined with hooks that will get stuck in your head as much as any Top 40 radio song, they  prove they’re here to stay

Despite an autumn release, the album emanates summer, with every song packed with catchy refrains and driven instrumentals. ‘Elevated kicks off the album in high fashion with the perfect marinade of pop punk and punk rock; the guitars are full of energy and the drums are bouncing on a trampoline in the background

‘Deadly Conversation’ starts off with an acoustic piece but guitars take over quickly and the track picks right back up where the opener left off. The track highlights the skill of dual guitarists Tyler Szalkowski and Tony Diaz mixed with drummer Evan Ambrosio. The structure of the track also demonstrates the show of the band as a cohesive units - the chorus is guitar driven but at one point all the instruments cut as frontman Derek Discanio snarls, “ I was perfectly lonely.” In just three minutes, State Champs manage to highlight each member of the band, something most pop-punk bands just don’t achieve

Discanio’s talent continues to shine in ‘Hard to Please’ where he injects the song’s multiple “whoa’s” with R&B tones reminiscent of fellow powerhouse vocalist Matty Arsenault of A Loss For Words

Bassist William Goodermote guides our ears into ‘Prepare To Be Noticed’ before the meaty bass line flirts with the guitars and tempo-setting drums. The musical chemistry between the crew continues throughout the entire track, while ‘Over the Line’ keeps up the energy with a solid stream of guitars throughout the song punctuated by the drums as Discanio sings lines that a live crowd will be guaranteed to shout back at him

The band’s infectious melodies refuse to falter in the latter half of the album, beginning with ‘Simple Existence’, whose prechorus breakdown will be another huge crowd-pleaser

The album also includes reworked versions of the two best songs from their EP, ‘Remedy’ and ‘Critical’. ‘Remedy’ is a New Found Glory-esque tune with one of the catchiest riffs and choruses on the entire album, while ‘Critical’ takes the time to show off the band’s complexity and versatility. In between those tracks are ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ and ‘Mind Bottled’, two more massive pop punk anthems. The album closes with ‘Easy Enough’, which contains the most laidback choruses on the album, although the instruments still barely slow down. Discanio and Ambrosio then ease the record into its final conclusion as the rest of the band surrounds them with distant “whoa’s”

On the closing ‘Easy Enough’, the words “I just want to be more than a memory” make an on again, off again appearance. Based on State Champs performance throughout The Finer Things, it’s safe to say the exact opposite will happen. True to its name, this record is one of the finest debut pop-punk records of the last five years and easily among the top tier for the genre this year

Buy it here

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