Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Pure Noise
State Champs named their sophomore LP after the extended voyage that followed 2013's excellent The Finer Things. Around the World and Back truly sounds like a product of their globetrotting, from vocalist Derek DiScanio's cleaner, widened range (that could only come from countless hours of practice and performance) to the kind of hooks that rival those of recent tour mates 5 Seconds of Summer. Though it may sound as if the New York band have softened — the pop punkers lean into their pop tendencies here — there's still a distinct harder edge to their sound.
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.
After breaking through with 2013’s The Finer Things (which featured arguably the year’s best pop-punk song in “Elevated”), the 5 Seconds Of Summer-approved quintet have quietly expanded their taut brand of hooky pop punk on their sophomore album while offering nods to their heroes. “Losing Myself” smacks of A Day To Remember’s poppier side, while “All Or Nothing” is cut from the same cloth as Valencia’s supremely underrated We All Need A Reason To Believe. But the group put enough spin on the source material to make these songs their own.