State Champs
Kings of the New Age


4.0
excellent

Review

by iChuckles USER (26 Reviews)
May 13th, 2022 | 59 replies


Release Date: 05/13/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sounds of summer.

For close to a decade now, State Champs have been able to carve out a strong foothold in the overly saturated 2010's pop punk era; co-existing nicely with their contemporary peers Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck and – to a lesser extent – their Pure Noise brethren Four Year Strong and The Story so Far. Yet the subgenre as it exists now is a far cry from how it existed when The Finer Things landed the Albany-quintet multiple Warped Tour appearances back when Warped Tour was still even a thing, and when Jarrod Alonge was pulling millions of views clowning on stereotypes commonly associated with the genre. Nowadays, pubescent Tik Tokers – all of whom are employing the expertise of Travis Barker – are bringing pop-punk to the mainstream full throttle, with at times aggravatingly medicore results. Oh, and the less said about Machine Gun Kelly's lyricism on the flacid Mainstream Sellout , the better (read: "emo girl").

In a sense, Kings of The New Age is State Champs' friendly reminder that their take on pop-punk has always been several cuts above many of the genre's offerings. Derek Discanio's partially plushy, partially gritty vocal medodies are undeniably pleasant; far more exuberant and distinct than so many other pop-punk vocalists. The soaring choruses of "Elevated", "Secrets" and "Crystal Ball" are just as enjoyable now as they were several years ago and the four-year gap between 2018's Livng Proof and Kings of... has left a large, yet-to-be-filled void of fun, peppy and summer-coated pop-punk to roll down the windows to. Luckily, the band succeeds admirably in filling said void and – contrary to the album's title – does away with a lot of the tropes that currently reign supreme in the genre playbook. You won't find tacky 808 beats or awkwardly shoe-horned in rap sections and features. Make no mistake, this is an undeniably 2013-record; production choices, songwriting and all.

Unlike many bands cut from the same cloth as State Champs, who've dared to tread the ill-fated route of "maturity" to little success, Kings of... takes the polar opposite approach to great effect. The half-time ferocity of opener "Here To Stay" is immediately captivating, as are the hyper-glistening feel-good riffs of the stadium-primed anthem "Fake It", which is destined to go-down as one of State Champ's most triumphant cuts. Throughout the entire album's runtime, the band competently doubles down on their longtime strengths; Derek is as controlled as ever, belting out oh-so catchy sing-along refrains the band has worn on their sleeve for the better part of a decade, with the urgent yet tender "Half Empty" being a noteworthy highlight. Evan Ambrosio's typically punishing drum patterns are also consistently alluring, with percussive ear-worms reigning supreme on "Eventually" and the hardcore grit of "Sundress", featuring Alan and Dan of Four Year Strong fame. Luckily, Tyler Szalkowski's riffs are no slouch either, relying on high-energy riffage that sit at the forefront of Drew Fulk's superb production, with "Where Were You" sporting some of the most memorable guitar work of the band's career. Setting aside some awkward bit of lyricism that feel a little too juvenile for the band's age ("Everybody But You") Kings of... is absolutely everything you could ever ask of a pop-punk band who are far from being on their last legs in 2022. In the wake of Neck Deep having parted with ways with a whopping three original members and dabbling in an identity crisis, not to mention Hopeless Records catching flak for failing miserably in promoting a certain Australian band last year, Kings of... marks yet another stupendous victory lap for the Albany-rockers. The finer things, indeed.

Standout Tracks:
Eventually
Fake It
Half Empty
Just Sound
Act Like That
Where Were You



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user ratings (37)
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
readyformoore (4)
State Champs prove why they are the kings of modern pop-punk....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Shamus248
May 13th 2022


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review...album is pretty good so far...that Ben Barlow feature is fucking horrendous tho

Digging: DeVonte Singh - Warning Music Can Make Babies

iChuckles
May 13th 2022


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man!



Yeah Neck Deep just aren't doing it for me anymore. Dani leaving the band was kind of the last straw for me.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2022


4514 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

sweet review (missing a t in 'experise'?)!

this is better than living proof but it's also not very great lol, it's tired cliche upon tired cliche and i don't miss being an angsty 14 yo enough for it to hit any kind of spot lol

iChuckles
May 13th 2022


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good catch thanks! I wouldn't say it's angsty, though. Extremely carefree more than anything.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2022


4514 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

oh yeah agreed, it's just that this stuff reminds me of being an angsty lil prick haha. 'everybody but you' is undeniably fun tho, n there's a few more slappy choruses

TrayGeddyWillFindUs
May 13th 2022


1 Comments


I used to hate State Champs because of corny lyrics but once I realised that's a bullshit argument to have when listening to pop punk and I let that go, the songs started to become good fun. Curious about this record

Mort.
May 13th 2022


18861 Comments


no willow smith feature? not real pop punk then



Digging: Nirvana - In Utero

parksungjoon
May 13th 2022


44641 Comments


lets say i were god and i could just snap my fingers and simply prevent any pop punk discussion from happening

what percent of this site's traffic do you reckon would be gutted

Mort.
May 13th 2022


18861 Comments


the percent i wouldnt miss

iChuckles
May 13th 2022


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"lets say i were god and i could just snap my fingers and simply prevent any pop punk discussion from happening



what percent of this site's traffic do you reckon would be gutted"



I promise you I'll live.

parksungjoon
May 13th 2022


44641 Comments


happy to hear that

notagenius
May 13th 2022


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been listening to The Finer Things. rarely listen to the last two records anymore. I'm not picky about them, they're like sunshine.

notagenius
May 13th 2022


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some Minds Don't Change is my fav track on this! I prefer whining/angry songs



And when the band covered Chicago Is So Two Years Ago, that cover was a heartwarming moment for me! That song is the one I've been humming for the last 20 years!

notagenius
May 13th 2022


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like Fake It as well

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2022


27410 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

didn't know they had a new album dropping



saw them live with The Wonder Years several years back and they were pretty great

JayEnder
May 13th 2022


14748 Comments


This band lost the plot after The Finer Things

Digging: Alexisonfire - Otherness

iChuckles
May 13th 2022


441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Back on track now IMO!

notagenius
May 13th 2022


832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

“This band lost the plot after The Finer Things”



This one is worth a listen.

Shamus248
May 14th 2022


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

To say they've lost the plot since The Finer Things is an understatement. Upon further skimming through this album, the one thing that sticks out to me most is; it's a ton of God damn fun, but it's kind of mindless. I know it's upbeat, by the books pop punk, so i shouldn't be bargaining for too much, but idk man The Finer Things and even the last 2 records felt like they had more purpose. The Finer Things was cleverly written magic by these spunky upstarts who put their foot on the gas from the opening moments of Elevated and didn't let up once. That album is in my top 5 favorite albums ever. It is just fucking flawless and I still can't properly describe why it works so well



If The Finer Things is a balloon, each subsequent release is the same balloon w/ maybe 5-10% of the air deflated. Around the World and Back struck a solid balance of pop and punk and was the soundtrack to my first relationship so it holds a nostalgic place in my heart. Living Proof was a bit adventurous, songs like "Our Time to Go" expanding the band's horizons and wheelhouse of capabilities. This album is probably the best Derek has sounded since TFT, but he *carries* this God damn thing man. The signature pop punk bite SC is known for is present, but idk it just lacks the spark of everything that came before. It's another round of beach and summer soundtrack fodder, but how much longer can they loot that treasure chest before it's completely empty?



Favorite tracks so far: Fake It, Here to Stay, Eventually, Just Sound, Outta My Head



Everybody But You would be on my faves also if Ben Barlow was not involved. That dude can NOT sing for shit anymore. Neck Deep's most recent album has aged like milk in the Sahara, thanks in large part to his overprocessed and squeaky vocals. Idk if he's intentionally trying to sing w/ a higher pitch, but it borders from unflattering to making me wanna sew my ears shut....but i digress



SC are def still kings, just w/o the power and bravado they had before

Shamus248
May 14th 2022


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'll close on this; it's a younger, modern and more technically brilliant version of Simple Plan



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