The slow evolution of pop-punk has led to a fresh wave of new bands hitting the scene in recent years and, despite only forming in 2010, State Champs have already been making waves. ‘The Finer Things’ falls perfectly between the bouncier, classic pop-punk of New Found Glory and early Fall Out Boy with the more frenetic sound of The Wonder Years.
Finding everything you’d expect from the genre, the album has it all, from drum rolls to uptempo riffs. Opening track, ‘Elevated’ marks the tone of the record perfectly; bound to get stuck in your head, with plenty of punch, and a great singalong chorus that’s just made to be played live.
Picking standout tracks from ‘The Finer Things’ is actually a bit of a tough job as, quite frankly, every track is a strong one. Major contenders include ‘Critical’ and ‘Remedy’, both of which first made an appearance on 2012’s ‘Overslept’ EP. Both have catchy choruses and serve as great vehicles for Derek Discanio to demonstrate his competent vocal ability, which not only boasts a great range, but also a bit of a rough edge that takes the upbeat and bouncy guitar tracks into something with more bite.
Following on from the aforementioned ‘Elevated’, ‘Deadly Conversation’ opens to an acoustic guitar, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the energy was about to drop. But, after ten seconds of calm, the track quickly brings back full-on guitar and drum accompaniment, demonstrating a more complex musicality than a lot of other pop-punk records. Closer, ‘Easy Enough’ also makes a lasting impression, with a simple opening riff, uplifting chorus and the final section of drums, vocals and soaring “woah-oh”s; a staple of any pop-punk album worth its genre salt.
The album’s production values are clearly high, with a slickness that’s come to be more expected with current pop-punk standards and a noticeable cleaner sound than their ‘Overslept’ EP and 2011’s ‘Apparently I’m Nothing’. The only real downside is that due to many of the tracks having a similar feel, it’s tough for any of them to be majorly memorable in the long-term on their own. Still, the album as a whole is a stunning piece of straight-up pop-punk done perfectly, definitely setting State Champs up to be leaders of the genre pack.
Written by Milly Youngman