10 AM EST
See you soon then
Better keep listening! ;)
Don’t worry, I’ll slouch.
State Champs – The Finer Things
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: October 8 2013
The beginning of this year seemed like the year of pop-punk; with releases by The Story So Far, Transit, Man Overboard, and The Wonder Years coming out within the first five months of the year. Well, after these records were released, this reviewer kind of lost touch with the genre as a whole, but all it took was one record to really get me back into the genre, and my favorite bands within it. Who is that band, you ask? It’s none other than New York pop-punk outfit State Champs with their debut album The Finer Things. I was going to download this album on iTunes, but never did, for whatever reason. Thankfully, I ordered a physical copy through Hot Topic, and I’ve been addicted to it for the last couple of weeks. As well as becoming one of my favorite pop-punk records, it’s also becoming one of my favorite albums. If that’s indication to how wonderful this record is, you may not to read any more of this review. That would be silly, however, because I have a lot to say about The Finer Things.
State Champs is a pop-punk band that has always stuck out to me, ever since I discovered them last spring. I was heavily into them and lots of other new pop-punk bands, but they’re remained one of the few that I’ve enjoyed the most. There are two reasons for that: their vocalist is insanely talented and his vocals are unique for the genre, and their overall sound places more much emphasis on hooks and catchy choruses rather than the punk aspect of pop-punk. In other words, State Champs is a memorable band, and that’s exactly what they are, so needless to say, The Finer Things was a very much anticipated record from myself, and plenty of others. Boy, did it deliver. It’s one of the best records I’ve heard all year.
When I said their vocalist is really unique, vocalist Derek Discanio is not your average pop-punk vocalist. He has a voice well suited for pop and R&B music, rather than pop-punk. If anything, he reminds this reviewer a lot of Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, especially how he sounded on label debut Take This to Your Grave. Discanio doesn’t sound so strained here, however. His vocals are strong, passionate, powerful, and hit every note that he tries to make. In other words, they’re damn near perfect. He has a lovely range, and along with Matty Arsenault from A Loss For Words, these are the only two pop-punk bands with soul. And his voice doesn’t just shine on specific tracks, either, it’s the whole record, which is what makes it better.
Discanio’s lyrics are also just as great, and I’d go as far to say even better than more bands in genre. Some songs do have “better” lyrics than others, however, including “Deadly Conversation,” “Mind Bottled,” “Critical,” and “Easy Enough.” No matter what, however, the lyrics on The Finer Things manage to remain relatable, yet well written and best of all, sincere. One can tell that Discanio is sincere about what he sings and about every word that comes from his mouth, and it shows throughout the entire record.
The instrumentation on The Finer Things is rather straightforward, as are most pop-punk records, but State Champs love to lay on the hooks, and while they show up in every track, they show up most in a couple of tracks from the band’s Pure Noise Records debut EP Overslept, “Remedy” and “Critical.” These two tracks were my favorites from the EP, so having them be included here is just darling, because they have very tight and catchy melodies with very memorable hooks and are just two highlights, either way.
It’s quite rare that a pop-punk record like this comes along, because it’s been a long time since a pop-punk album has truly gotten my attention the same way that The Finer Things has. It’s got everything going for it: its vocalist is unique and fantastic, its lyrics are well written but still relatable and “feelsy,” and its sound is much more focused on pop hooks and catchy melodies than it is on forgettable and/or generic pop-punk tracks. Honestly, The Finer Things is definitely one of my favorite pop-punk records, but also one of my favorite albums of all time. Now that it’s winter time, I’m certainly going to need an album to get me pumped and warmed up, and this should do nicely.
Overall rating: 9/10
Found this cool review of The Finer Things
Dam! You heal slowly haha. That was a rough show. Thank you for being a good sport about it :)