Title - Kings of the New Age
Artist - State Champs
New York pop-punk outfit State Champs may have the best band name in the game today. It bleeds a certain bravado, daring the new listener to take a listen and become a fan. And their sixth studio release since their debut in 2011, Kings of the New Age, is equally as daring, and wholly delivers on the unspoken guarantee that you’ll walk away impressed.
With a bright guitar sound and a driving rhythm section behind nearly every track, State Champs’ music joyfully nudges the listeners’ subconscious toward Sum 41, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, and other bands I loved in junior high and high school. And yet, for sounding so similar, State Champs brings their own distinct vibes to each song.
1. Here to Stay
3. Everybody But You (ft. Ben Barlow)
4. Outta My Head
5. Fake It
6. Half Empty (ft. Chrissy Costanza)
7. Just Sound
8. Act Like That (ft. Michell Tenpenny)
9. Where Were You
10. Sundress (ft. Four Year Strong)
11. Some Minds Don’t Change
Just Sound became an early contender for favorite track, with an overall feeling that it could easily be featured on the best skateboard video game you’ve never played. Vocalist Derek Discanio brings the exact amount of spite required for one of the best worn-out relationship lines ever: “Enough is enough, what the f*** was I thinkin’/Being with you is like working on the weekend…” Brutal.
Perhaps the best part of State Champs as a band is that each member gets a chance to shine. Drummer Evan Ambrosio leads the charge on Some Minds Don’t Change, and while distorted vocals are cool, Ryan Scott Graham’s bass wins the day on Outta My Head. The ensemble is rounded out with the high marks that Tyler Szalkowski’s guitar gets on Eventually.
Certain songs, particularly Fake It and Act Like That, lean into the pop side of the pop-punk equation. These tracks, as well, bring to thought another beloved band, Rooney. But as with the others, these similarities only occur in the very best of ways. And while State Champs more than carry the album on their own, they also make good use of Mitchell Tenpenny, Ben Barlow, Chrissy Costanza, and Four Year Strong as featured guests.
In many ways, I’m grateful Kings of the New Age (they are exactly that) was my introduction to State Champs, since it was such a strong note to begin on. But by the same token, the fact that I am a decade too late to support this band from an initial release is a disappointment.
But I’m very excited to make up for all that lost time.
Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte
Kings of the New Age is available on all music streaming platforms.
State Champs - Act Like That [Ft. Mitchell Tenpenny] (Official Music Video)
Official Purchase Link
State Champs @ Facebook
State Champs @ Instagram
State Champs @ Twitter
State Champs @ YouTube
State Champs @ Bandcamp