State Champs are a name that you might not have heard of if you still listen to ’90s skate-punk and insist that ‘Enema Of The State’ is the best record of all time. However, if you’re not stuck in a time warp and keep up with the fresh faces of pop-punk, State Champs will definitely already be under your radar and, with their latest album ‘Around The World And Back’, they absolutely deserve to be.
It’s a tricky time for pop-punk. Of course, it’s a great time too, what with the recent revival leading to an enormous surge in popularity that makes this alternative genre one something special. But, then again, there are so many bands riding this wave of success that it’s fast becoming downright boring, and we can’t let every generic cliché slip through the net. To make a name for yourself in the scene, you’ve got to be razor sharp, relentlessly exciting, and full of energy, being more than just “another pop-punk band”. State Champs have got all of the above in spades.
They cater to their fans with unwavering precision, as the pop-punk punches roll in one after another without pausing for breath. With the high-powered upbeats of ‘Perfect Score’ and ‘Shape Up’ looking their key demographic right in the eye, you couldn’t possibly imagine State Champs anywhere other than at an American college party, drinking cheap beer and playing Jackass pranks on each other, which is exactly where pop-punk music belongs.
Despite their undeniable direction, there’s enough wiggle room within ‘Around The World And Back’ to keep the tedium at bay and the attention span alive. A couple of tracks have a whiff of filler about them, but the force in ‘All You Are Is History’, the warm female vocals in the album’s title-track, and the alt rock hints of You Me At Six and post-hiatus Fall Out Boy in ‘Breaking Ground’ pull us right back in if we ever dare to drift off.
The best thing about this album is that it’s solid; there’s no cutting corners, no twiddling thumbs, no twitching to press the skip button. If you want a pop-punk album that doesn’t waste your time, ‘Around The World And Back’ is the one for you.
Written by Sam Lawrie (@SamLawrie)