Album Review: State Champs – Around The World and Back (2015 LP)

If there’s one thing that has remained consistent with State Champs it’s their drive for making pop punk sound fresh and charming. With their sophomore release, Around The World and Back, the five-piece have proven once again that pop punk is alive and evolving for generations to come. After several listens of this record, the maturity in their songwriting has provided a deeper insight into what they’re capable of as musicians.

There’s consistency, balance, variety and honesty from this record and it’s safe to say that the pop punk band have talent that has them executing each song to its true form. As opposed to The Finer Things, State Champs have used their potential from their debut and have made a worthy record that will have a large impact on the younger generations, with tunes that will provide a vision of hope for those who feel misunderstood about life and its upbringings.

It’s a record that doesn’t slum down on anything with its high-energy tunes which highlight their epic contribution to the pop punk scene. As someone that has grown up with All Time Low and Motion City Soundtrack, I feel like this record is an empowering piece to the puzzle of today’s pop-punk scene and millennials can appreciate this sentimental approach State Champs have conveyed in their art.

The record is thoroughly addictive and with its first listen, you’ll feel like you’re on the edge of something sugary. Even if you begin to second guess this record, the musicianship of the band is crisp, strong and has an ulterior motive of tantalising your ear drums with choruses built for long, summery road trips and nights that were meant to last forever. There’s nostalgia that streams through all corners of the record with its reflective state of mind and atmosphere it creates of a certain past time. “Eyes Closed” and “Secrets” are poppy numbers that showcase the strong musicianship within the band. There’s fiery guitar progression and energetic drumming you feel resonating from the powerful instrumentation between the two tracks. This record itself showcases this kind of sound influence and although the material is rhythmic, State Champs keep things interesting with a variation of songs that stand for something. Whether it’s about a past relationship or discovering a sense of truth in one’s self, the five-piece release this emotive presence in their instruments and lyrical content.

“Back and Forth” has the same young and refreshing attitude that came with All Time Low’s 2009 release of Nothing Personal. It’s a track that is charismatic in its natural state and although it’s not fast-paced, it’s a track that signifies the band’s ability to create memorable songs even if they slow things down a little. In terms of experimentation, this is solid because they’ve taken themselves out of their comfort zones by creating tracks which relies less on the happy-go-lucky typical sound pop-punk normally offers. “Breaking Ground” follows this notion as well with the tone of it being edgy and empowering with its epic guitar instrumentation and while we see this other side to their music, the essence of pop punk still exists in State Champs. They reveal something that put things into perspective and that is, to move on and start things anew; learn from the mistakes made by being honest with ourselves and with other people.

Although the record has more variety compared to The Finer Things, it has some tracks sounding similar to one another. It’s clear that they take great influence from pop punk of the early 2000s and I can’t help but reflect back on bands like Bowling For Soup or Sum 41. However, the band’s sound has been consolidated well in this record and even if it does bring back fond memories of great pop punk music with striking similarity, Around The World and Back is a record that stands proudly on its two feet.

In reflection of other contending pop-punk bands such as The Story So Far, Neck Deep and Hit The Lights, who mind you have released albums this year, State Champs have proven they are capable of being a confident voice in this scene of music. The five-piece have opened up new horizons for themselves by showcasing their creative flair in writing songs that don’t miss out on the important details.

Review Score: 8.5 out of 10

Around The World and Back will be released on Friday October 16 via Pure Noise Records.