State Champs
Around the World and Back


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
October 15th, 2015 | 63 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s fine… But not a patch on ‘The Finer Things’.

When Albany act State Champs released their debut LP proper ‘The Finer Things’ in 2013, it was a “sit up and take notice” moment for many pop-punk aficionados. Arguably only trailing ‘The Greatest Generation’ (from veterans The Wonder Years) for that year’s best genre release, it was an exciting record from a group of youngsters that seemed to have an excellent handle on how to combine the categorization’s titular traits; pop and punk. In amongst some well-crafted song-writing nous, propulsive drumming and a buzzing dual guitar attack melded with memorable melodies and a barrage of infectious hooks. Following a strong acoustic EP, anticipation was high for full-length number two. Unfortunately, ‘Around the World and Back’ is initially a disappointment that is not a patch on its predecessor.

Unsurprisingly, State Champs toured the world relentlessly on the back of ‘The Finer Things’. And while one would never begrudge the opportunity for young upstarts to receive the greatest promotion possible, two of the tours headlining acts probably suggested the future direction for these New Yorkers… In America, it was All Time Low (whose sophomore LP ‘So Wrong, It’s Right’ appears to be a clear influence here), while in Australia it was 5 Seconds of Summer. That’s right folks; this is slick, predominantly by-the-numbers pop-punk that leans a little too much to the pop side of things. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, but once that path is chosen, a band better bring some instantly catchy tunes that stick in the memory. And while this is a consistent set of eleven songs that doesn’t contain a bad track, only ‘All You Are is History’ could be classified as genuinely memorable from the get-go!

Despite Evan Ambrosio’s thumping drums often being mixed to the forefront, most focus here is placed on Derek DiScanio’s silky smooth vocals. Anyone looking for some musical variety from ‘Around the World and Back’ should avert their direction to the album’s latter half. ‘Breaking Ground’ is the record’s (relatively speaking) heaviest track, coming complete with some fan-friendly “woh woh’s”. Alternately, the welcome inclusion of female vocals (courtesy of Jule Vera’s Ansley Newman), highlights the token ballad that is the title track. The most interesting – if not altogether successful - tune here may in fact be centrepiece ‘All or Nothing’; State Champs’ attempt at fusing pop-punk and alternative rock. Otherwise, everything from a song’s structure to its duration can pretty much be predicted to a tee on this thirty-six minute release.

When a band slickens up their sound to divisive results, it can be too easy to blame a change of producer. With Steve Klein having expertly manned the boards on ‘The Finer Things’, the switch to Kyle Black would have raised some eyebrows. Then again, Black has already been responsible for excellent 2015 releases from Strung Out and (similar pop-punk act) Broadside. No, ‘Around the World and Back’ is clearly the album that State Champs wanted to make. And if expectations weren’t so high, then maybe it would be seen as the solid and – dare I say – fine record that it is. Because that’s what it will eventually amount to, once the initial disappointment subsides. The quintet still perform pop-punk better than many of their contemporaries, and it should be noted that this LP sounds significantly more effective when played out loud, rather than through head or earphones… But it’s difficult to ignore the feeling that they are capable of better. Since this album is also unlikely to propel them to stratospheric mainstream heights, the band’s next move will be fascinating to follow.

Recommended Tracks: All You Are Is History, All or Nothing, Eyes Closed & Secrets.




Recent reviews by this author
Alessia Cara Know-It-AllBe The Wolf Imago
Marianas Trench AstoriaEditors In Dream
Meg Myers SorryMetric Pagans In Vegas
user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This LP isn't a grower in the true sense of the word, but let's just say that it's better than what it will seem on 1st listen.

I can't stress enough the "sounds significantly more effective when played out loud, rather than through head or earphones" sentence. I guess most pop-punk is a bit like that.

skoopy48
October 15th 2015


1868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

On first listen this seemed fun, but less so than their debut. Would still take this any day over most others in the genre.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2015


10121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i doubt it tops the finer things but im sure it's sweet

dmp3131
October 15th 2015


1197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Love this. I notice a lot of A Day To Remember influence on this as well. His vocals are as good as ever, though. All Or Nothing, Breaking Ground, and Losing Myself are my favorites so far.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much spot on skoopy.



Ditto Gameofmetal.



dmp, I don't get the ADTR influence all that much. Maybe a track here or there, but it's otherwise not heavy enough to be in the same ballpark.

JS19
October 16th 2015


5842 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wanted this to be awesome : (

Digging: Tricot - 3

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So did I JS, so did I.

XxAlterWavexX
October 16th 2015


45 Comments


Man, some of these songs sounds straight off So Wrong It's Right or Nothing Personal, which I don't mind at all tbh. Especially since ATL have gone into more pop-than-punk territory again with Future Hearts. I agree it doesn't consistently hit the sweet spot like The Finer Things did, but it's still pretty damn good so far.

WatchItExplode
October 16th 2015


4915 Comments


last one was a nice surprise, I'll have to see how this rates

Digging: Belvedere - 'Twas Hell Said Former Child

dmp3131
October 16th 2015


1197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Might be bumping this to a 4, really solid.



I noticed the influences heavily on "Losing Myself" and "All You Are..." and a bit more throughout. But really it's just the genre too.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Too true AlterWave. I'd say that what you think of All Time Low is how you will react to this, but more early All Time Low I think (which is under-rated imo).



I thought 'Losing Myself' was one of the more vocally driven songs here dmp, so don't personally think there's much ADTR influence in it.

beefshoes
October 16th 2015


6831 Comments


As soon as I saw the name of this band, I automatically knew that it'd be pop-punk.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, it's funny how you can usually tell genres from band names. Pop-punk can be one, although I think many kinds of metal win out. I mean, a band called, say, Mortal Decay is hardly gonna be electro-pop.

chug73
October 17th 2015


2980 Comments


This proves tr00 pop punk is over. No more sadboi twinkle soft grunge bs Real Friends.


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

While people are still spelling things the way you do, pop-punk will exist.

chug73
October 17th 2015


2980 Comments


Well aren't you just a pile of fun

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2015


22452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't forget the question mark at the end. ;-)

chug73
October 17th 2015


2980 Comments


always the charmer

cmaitland421
October 17th 2015


407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The summary sums up my exact thoughts on this record. Nicely done.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2015


10121 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

real good album but everything you said is on point. the finer things is just better but this is a definite good time



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy