REVIEW: State Champs – Overslept

Artist: State Champs
Album: Overslept
Genre: Pop punk
Label: Pure Noise Records

Over the course of 2012 the pop-punk scene has churned out a ton of music, most of which has fallen by the wayside, each release burying the next. However through all of the recycled, already-heard guitar licks and generic posi sing-alongs comes one of the most impressive pop punk releases since the recent resurgence of the scene. Tucked away in upstate New York, State Champs spent the early part of this summer recording their Pure Noise Records debut EP Overslept, working with the well-known producer Jay Maas at the Getaway Recording Studio in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The first thing that stands out about this EP is vocalist Derek Discanio’s outstanding vocals, one of the major things I believe sets State Champs apart from many of the other pop punk outfits out there. Vocally the record is flawless, with Discanio bellowing out more than your average, run of the mill pop lyrics, which is yet another strong point of the EP.

Another thing I cannot help but notice about Overslept is how mature the record seems. While some may write that off as the amazing quality of the release, because the recordings are absolutely stunning, it’s more than that. One of the biggest problems with most pop-punk bands is their lack of depth in their songs. Simple guitar riffs and simple lyrics, with little, if any, layers added to give a track the little extra that makes a good song great. Not this EP. This release has so much going on with each track, and it is clear that the band took the time to perfect each song. Rather than putting out a sequel to the band’s 2011 release, Apparently I’m Nothing, State Champs released a record showcasing their growth as not only a band but as individual musicians.

Although only four songs, one of which is an intro track, Overslept definitely packs a punch. The guitar work on the EP is very strong, with riffs both catchy and aggressive, seamlessly anchoring down the record, guaranteeing its success. While I have praised the vocals on this release, listeners should definitely not overlook how infectious and impressive the music on this EP is.

Although the instruments are great and the vocals are stronger than nearly every other release in this genre, my favorite thing about this EP is that amount of pop punk clichés it contains. None. Far too many pop releases are simple rip-offs of something a much better band introduced and others are trying to follow their lead. This EP contains thoughtful lyrics, as opposed to the typical pop lines about how much the band loves their friends, written for the sole purpose bands know kids will pile-on and sing along. Now that’s not too say Overslept doesn’t give kids plenty of stage dive and pile-on opportunities, because trust me, kids are in for a real treat when the band hits the road this fall. State Champs have just created a more natural feeling EP, that takes the roots of pop punk and creates a fresh sound that the band effortlessly makes their own.

State Champ’s latest effort perfectly encompasses everything that is pop punk. With catchy guitar riffs, outstanding hooks, and an overall positive, triumphant feel, Overslept  is the EP many of today’s pop punk acts are trying to write.

Be sure to catch the band on The Leaving Forever Tour this fall, alongside Handguns, Forever Came Calling, and Allison Weiss,  a must see tour for any fan of pop punk.

Score: 9/10
Written by Matthew Dondiego.

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