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Around the World and Back
By Brittany Muldoon
New York-based pop punk act State Champs is back with their second full-length album, Around the World and Back. This record leans more toward the pop side than we expected, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The catchy melodies and clever lyrics will be stuck in your head in no time. Although the harder edge is less distinct, the songs are dynamic enough to keep you excited and listening until the end.
State Champs break through the entry gate with their high-energy anthem, “Eyes Closed.” They follow this with “Secrets,” the first single and arguably the best song on the album. The track list upholds a similar feel until “Perfect Score,” which is noticeably more lyric-driven than the previous tracks that were heavier on drums and guitar. The next song, “All or Nothing,” builds the energy back up to par.
The title track speaks to the versatility of the band. A beautifully produced and relatable ballad about the often terrifying feeling of falling in love, “Around the World and Back” showcases the vocal capabilities of both lead singer Derek DiScanio and featured artist Ansley Newman. Their seamless harmonies take the song to the next level to make it one of the best songs on the album.
After the title track, State Champs end strong with “Breaking Ground” and “Tooth and Nail,” two energetic anthems that will leave some listeners wishing for a harder edge but will satisfy most.
The energy changes between songs late in the album are jarring at times but they’re not enough to distract the listener from the overall quality. Where some songs lack instrumental intensity, DiScanio’s vocal range and edge make up for it.
The overall feel of the album is slightly reminiscent of All Time Low’s Don’t Panic record with more punk mixed in. Some die-hard pop punk fans may be left craving more of a punk edge but fans of State Champs won’t be disappointed. Around the World and Back is a big step in State Champs’ musical journey and there is no doubt that they have the talent and the potential to become one of the best acts in the genre.
POP DEFLATORS RECOMMENDS: “Secrets”