Review: State Champs, The Finer Things.
Maybe its just me, but I feel like being able to witness a band growing as musicians and finally coming into their own is one of the finer things in life. There is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing a band has the potential to grow so much, and then finally being able to hear all of their hard work and talent come into fruition. While it may not be the first time I’ve seen it happen, I can easily say that I’ve most enjoyed watching the growth of Albany, NY’s own State Champs.
The Finer Things is the bands first full-length release on Pure Noise records, and their second full-length released, following 2011’s Apparently I’m Nothing. The record opens up with “Elevated”, which was released as the album’s first single earlier this summer. An incredibly smart decision on all ends, because if the high energy and infectious melody doesn’t draw you in, nothing will. This is followed by “Deadly Conversation”, which is a killer track and the perfect middle piece for the trifecta of literal perfection the first three songs of this record prove to be. The song is fun, you find yourself singing along to the chorus almost instinctively after hearing it only once, it’s a beautiful thing really. The third song in this trifecta is “Hard To Please”. Lyrically, this is my favorite song that State Champs has ever written, and I can honestly say that it’s probably my favorite from the entire record. The second I hear “Maybe I’m a bad person…”, I get goosebumps. I do not think I could love this song any more than I do.
Track four is “Prepare To Be Noticed”, and if “dat bassline” isn’t the first thing to come into your head when this song starts, you’re doing it wrong. The vocal delivery on the verses of this track is phenomenal, and this is just one of those songs that feels like it could easily fit into the soundtrack of a newer Tony Hawk game. “Over The Line” follows and continues to show that State Champs has finally hit their stride, and know just the kind of music they want to be making.
“Simple Existence” is the next track, and the bridge of that track is going to be tweet after tweet/facebook status after facebook status, I promise you that. “I fell asleep in a city that doesn’t/Thought I was special/But you know that I wasn’t/“ is going to be plastered all over social media. This is followed by a re-recording of “Remedy”, which is either going to be hit or miss with fans of the original version. Personally, I think the change is good, and it sounds more like the music the band is trying to release now.
“Nothing’s Wrong” and “Mind Bottled” are the next two tracks. While “Nothing’s Wrong” was released as the second single for the album, it is completely out-shined by “Mind Bottled”. “Mind Bottled” is, for lack of a better term, “punchy”. It’s fast and fun, incredibly infectious, and is definitely going to be a crowd favorite. A re-recording of “Critical” is next, and I feel the same way about this as I do about the re-recording of “Remedy”: change is good. The album closes with “Easy Enough”, which has such an insane opening melody. It’s one of those tracks that is easily love at first listen, and definitely coaxes you into starting the record over again.
All of their hard work and talent is being put on the forefront, and it goes above and beyond paying off. The Finer Things is a record that shows just how much State Champs has grown over the past couple years. The musicianship is leaps and bounds above what it was previously, and this is going to be the record ensures that these guys are going to stick around for quite some time.
Another easy five/five.