After high anticipation and a relentless touring schedule, New York-based pop-punk heroes State Champs’ new album “Around The World and Back” is finally here, and fans are ecstatic.
Although the band has only been around for five years now, these hopeful underdogs have been busy playing basement shows, filling venues all over the U.S, and even getting signed to Pure Noise Records only after two years. Of course, the band didn’t become famous overnight, but their success sure makes it seem that way.
Lead guitarist Tyler Szalkowski and lead singer Derek DiScanio formed State Champs in Albany, New York, in 2010. They were later joined by guitarist Tony Diaz, Evan Ambrosio, and Ryan Scott Graham. Graham is from Livonia, Michigan, and plays bass as well as serving on backing vocals). Shortly after forming, they released an EP called “Apparently, I’m Nothing,” Two years later, they were signed to Pure Noise Records.
Much of their success has to do with the support and promotion of other bands. State Champs have opened for alternative legends and new groups like All Time Low, The Wonder Years, and 5 Seconds Of Summer.
Much of State Champs’ success, however, has to do with the band itself. Between their fantastic debut album, The Finer Things, and their non-stop touring schedule, the band has shown their devotion to the genre and especially their music. This makes their new album, “Around The World and Back,” harder to follow up.
In all honesty, “Around The World and Back” does not live up to their last album. It does not quite fit in with “The Finer Things” style but can be interpreted as a new beginning for the band. State Champs has great songs from “The Finer Things,” such as “Elevated” and “Remedy,” but songs like “Secrets” and “All You Are Is History” from Around The World and Back are almost half stepped-down versions with similar melodies.
In an interview with Fuse TV, Guitarist Tyler Szalkowski explains the origin of the record title.
“Around the World and Back represents our last two years. This record is the culmination of the last two years of our lives since we put out The Finer Things. We went with that record title because we actually wrote most of that record on tour. I remember writing the song ‘All or Nothing’ on this rooftop greenroom in Japan. I actually remember where all of the songs were written. For us, it made sense in the very literal aspect that we went around the world and back while we made this record…but also the emotional long haul that is traveling around the world and back is this record.”
It isn’t easy to rate this album because it is a great leap of faith in style from The Finer Things and doesn’t fulfill its potential. While this album has some flaws, it doesn’t completely spoil the fun and spirit of Around The World and Back. It helps the pop-punk genre move in the right direction. Unfortunately, the flaws are not as impactful as the strengths of the record. Nevertheless, when listeners grab the album, it will be clear why State Champs is destined for the big leagues, and with that, this album has earned itself three and a half stars.