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Passion defines music. Passion leads music, passion makes music. State Champs, the pop-punk band out of Albany, NY, are full of passion, they are full of promise.
In their debut album, The Finer Things, State Champs make the most of their 11 tracks by keeping it simple and energetic, sticking true to the same roots of pop-punk pioneers but also finding ways to make the music seem refreshing and different.
To kick off the album, “Elevated” is one incredible banger, as it shows everything to love about a band like State Champs-energy, energy and a lot more energy. Lead singer Derek Discanio has one heck of a larynx; and the song, as does the album, has layers upon layers of his impressive range, desire, and angst for the music.
The lyrics also have a refreshing taste to them: “Holidays tend to make me feel whole again/Rainy days make me feel like the dream is dead/I can show you what it's like to be down when you're all alone/I'm quite aligned to your design/What's mine is yours, and that's just fine/I'm finally acquiring the state of mind that everything is gonna be alright.”
These aren’t sad, down-on-the-world lyrics, these are happy, these are evocative, and most importantly these are interesting.
Couple those themes with bouncing, powerful guitar riffs and State Champs has found one incredible formula for insatiable pop-punk. The choruses are so catchy and spirited it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from tapping your foot.
Perhaps the best song on the album, “Remedy,” has everything from growling vocals, attractive harmonies, falsettos, and fast, angry, fun guitar-play.
And while their creativity might not be vast, and their sound is nothing all-too-new, State Champs still kicked out one incredible debut with The Finer Things and they stand to be yet another gem for the genre.
Score: 4.25/5 (Pop-punk album rating)