New York pop punk poster boys State Champs have propelled to the forefront of their genre, playing festivals across the globe, touring with the likes of The Wonder Years, Cartel, We Are The In Crowd and pop punk legends New Found Glory. What could possibly top all of these achievements? Well, a re-imagining of their best tracks from smash hit release The Finer Things alongside a few new little treats.
Intro track Elevated is given a complete re-vamp taking it from a tumultuous party-going track to a slow and winding ode; drawing focus away from the driving riffs of the original and onto the visceral, heartfelt lyrics that are often detracted from by the bands feel good style. They can’t sound too harsh however with master of melody, Derek Discanio, at the helm with a voice that could break any heart in two whilst also making you fall in love, notably demonstrated in Deadly Conversation. An already relatively slow track to begin with, its now an atmospheric ballad with the piercing chords of the acoustic guitars and layered vocals cutting at every heart string coupled with thoroughly relatable and saddening lyrics.
Both Hard to Please and Simple Existence manage to pack the same punch as their electric counterparts on the Finer Things, held with acoustic guitars thrashing against bellowing vocals from the whole band, sending shivers down your spine. This leads on to the end of The Finer Things reworkings with closing track Easy Enough, my favourite State Champs song made better with a more noticeable juxtaposition of pop elements in melodic vocals and a soft tempo, and punk elements of the song with gang vocals, lyrical content and the thrashing guitars providing a rich display of musical talent.
Brand new tracks Leave You In The Dark and If I’m Lucky preview a possible softer and almost groovier direction the band may go in, with stronger vocal styles, nifty guitar techniques not common in pop punk right now and an all round break away from the generic conventions of pop punk that could prove risky, but which they pull off incredibly well for they are not a one trick pony or a generic pop punk band by any definition. They are a group of truly talented musicians, dedicated to making music for the love of it, and it shows through the sheer quality of every release.