Is it possible to be ‘Around The World and Back’ so soon?


Pure Noise Records

This is State Champs’ second album release

Zoe Garden, Staff Writer

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. 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, and 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 and two years later, 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 as well as 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 amazing 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 definitely 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 style of The Finer Things, 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.”

To rate this album is a difficult task, because it is a great leap of faith in terms of style from The Finer Things and doesn’t fulfill the potential that the album has. While this album has some flaws, it doesn’t completely spoil the fun and spirit of Around The World and Back. It definitely helps the pop punk genre move into the right direction.The flaws are not as impactful as the strengths of the record.  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 3 and a half stars.