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State Champs - The Finer Things Album Cover

State Champs - The Finer Things

Reviewed by
8.0
State ChampsThe Finer Things
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: October 8, 2013
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
So far this year, off the top of my head the only pop punk records that have really had lasting value for me are The Greatest Generation, Collider, and then some tracks off of What You Don’t See. Considering I only just turned 20 last month and am still all for some quality pop punk tunes, this has been quite unsettling for me. There is pretty much no fall in Austin, so I need something to still play loud in my car with the sunroof open – when it’s warm, is there anything better? Thankfully during this drought, State Champs decided to come and release one of the best debut pop-punk albums in recent memory, appropriately titled The Finer Things.

While State Champs showed some extreme promise with last year’s EP, Overslept, it’s safe to say this record quite exceeds expectations. In fact, it blows them out of the water. Not only is the chorus on opener “Elevated” one of the most memorable of any track on the record, the entire track hangs out in a city of hooks and one-liners. It’s the perfect indication of what is to follow. “Deadly Conversation” starts off with an acoustic piece but before you have time to say “what the hell we just got started,” guitars take over and the track picks right back up where the opener left off. The track highlights the skill of dual guitarists Tyler Szalkowski and Tony Diaz mixed with drummer Evan Ambrosio. The structure of the track also demonstrates the show of the band as a cohesive units – the chorus is guitar driven but at one point all the instruments cut as frontman Derek Discanio snarls, “ I was perfectly lonely.” In just three minutes, State Champs manage to highlight each member of the band, something most pop-punk bands just don’t achieve.

Bassist William Goodermote guides our ears into “Before To Be Noticed” before the meaty bass line flirts with the guitars and tempo-setting drums. The musical chemistry between the crew continues throughout the entire track, while the “Simple Existence” has all ears on Discanio as he repeats, “I’m coming for you,” with the track switching back and forth from upbeat to a more gritty palm mute focused jam. “Nothing’s Wrong” works similarly, this time having Discanio drill the line “We’ve been here before” drilled into your brain before a bass-fueled chorus build up.

The already heard “Remedy” and “Critical” fit perfectly here, with the newly recorded versions sounding considerably more crisp than the originals. The former’s chorus features the best vocal performance on the record, and the latter proves how effective Discanio’s vocal range really is. He hits you with a right hook with the chorus of “I won’t let this life get so critical” and then swings back with the left on the equally enticing line of “I’m like a boy lost in a the city / Not wanting to be found.”

As the record nears the end with the album standout and penultimate “Critical,” the fact that this is debut record sinks in, and it becomes clear how much potential this band has. On the closing “Easy Enough,” the words “I just want to be more than a memory” make an on again, off again appearance. Based on State Champs performance throughout The Finer Things, I think it’s safe to say the exact opposite will happen. True to its name, this record is one of the finest debut pop-punk records of the last five years and easily among the top tier for the genre this year.

8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 58
07:57 PM on 10/06/13
#2
Zac Djamoos
fantasizing the sight of manhattan
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Nice review. This album's pretty good, super catchy. I wish they'd ended the album with any other song though.
09:51 PM on 10/06/13
#3
Blake Solomon
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idk, other than that last song, didn't really do anything for me. found it too same-y after all.
09:18 AM on 10/07/13
#4
Vance Mook
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I've been waiting to check out this band (they played with With the Punches and Hit the Lights at our local venue, but I missed their set), so I'm definitely excited to give this a listen. How did you feel about the Light Years LP?
09:25 AM on 10/07/13
#5
Charlesieiy
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Great review, but there's one slipup I noticed: " In just three bands, State Champs manage to highlight each member of the band, something most pop-punk bands just don’t achieve." Don't you mean "In just three songs"? haha

Either way, very much enjoy this album.
09:27 AM on 10/07/13
#6
jorbjorb
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fair rating.
09:29 AM on 10/07/13
#7
Jaytothesyg
The Greatest Generation
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A couple things needed edit here but I agree with what your saying!

Album is pretty great, I don't know if it'll attract the attention that TSSF did with USAD like everyone thought though
09:34 AM on 10/07/13
#8
Ryan Gardner
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Edited it - I suck haha
09:34 AM on 10/07/13
#9
Ryan Gardner
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I've been waiting to check out this band (they played with With the Punches and Hit the Lights at our local venue, but I missed their set), so I'm definitely excited to give this a listen. How did you feel about the Light Years LP?
I had it on that original list but didn't want to list like 4 albums so I just stuck to 3
09:53 AM on 10/07/13
prospekt
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To me this album is in the mix for the best pop-punk release this year. It's just so refined and polished. Every song is layered with all this stuff that you don't discover until you listen a third or fourth time. I would've liked a slower song in there somewhere, but the album never gets boring. If you listen to pop-punk I don't think it's possible to not like at least 2-3 songs on this record. Really fun live show too.

Amazing how much this band has changed since they released that 9-track EP (LP?) a couple years ago.

This record is also way better than TSSF's debut.
10:02 AM on 10/07/13
WhenWeBrenden
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2013 has been great for pop punk
The Wonder Years -The Greatest Generation
A Loss For Words - Before It Caves
Veara - Growing Up Is Killing Me
Save Your Breath - There Used To Be A Place For Us
The Story So Far - What You Don't See
Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll
Man Overboard - Heart Attack
Real Friends - Put Yourself Back Together
State Champs - The Finer Things
Post Season - Remember
Mixtapes - Ordinary Silence
Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried
Firestarter - New Beginnings.

and we still have That Thief Club album and another Fall Out Boy record coming this year.
10:25 AM on 10/07/13
Thomas Nassiff
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idk, other than that last song, didn't really do anything for me. found it too same-y after all.
i kinda agree but every year there is one record that does the samey style well enough to have some value, and this year this is that album for me. last year's was forever came calling. definitely getting fewer and farther between
10:27 AM on 10/07/13
Thomas Nassiff
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2013 has been great for pop punk
The Wonder Years -The Greatest Generation
A Loss For Words - Before It Caves
Veara - Growing Up Is Killing Me
Save Your Breath - There Used To Be A Place For Us
The Story So Far - What You Don't See
Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll
Man Overboard - Heart Attack
Real Friends - Put Yourself Back Together
State Champs - The Finer Things
Post Season - Remember
Mixtapes - Ordinary Silence
Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried
Firestarter - New Beginnings.

and we still have That Thief Club album and another Fall Out Boy record coming this year.
a loss for words album is terrible. so is veara. i like pop-punk and those albums are pretty much unlistenable
10:36 AM on 10/07/13
Ryan Gardner
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2013 has been great for pop punk
The Wonder Years -The Greatest Generation
A Loss For Words - Before It Caves
Veara - Growing Up Is Killing Me
Save Your Breath - There Used To Be A Place For Us
The Story So Far - What You Don't See
Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll
Man Overboard - Heart Attack
Real Friends - Put Yourself Back Together
State Champs - The Finer Things
Post Season - Remember
Mixtapes - Ordinary Silence
Knuckle Puck - The Weight That You Buried
Firestarter - New Beginnings.

and we still have That Thief Club album and another Fall Out Boy record coming this year.
Veara's album is awful. Save Rock and Roll is pop - not pop punk. Man Overboard's new album was really boring. Put Yourself Back Together is an EP not an album - and it was pretty forgettable. ALFW is not out yet. Can't get into Mixtapes' singer's voice. Never heard of Firestarter, Save Your Breath, or Knuckle Puck.
10:54 AM on 10/07/13
Born_For_This
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I thought The Wonder Years, TSSF, Man Overboard, Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Fireworks and these all released solid material this year. Pop-punk is still going strong.

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