ALBUM REVIEW: State Champs – Kings Of The New Age

For most styles of music, the word ‘generic’ gets used as a negative critique to discredit the artist’s creative ability and expression. However, in the last decade or so, the term ‘generic pop punk’ has become a shameless staple in a scene that values catchy hooks, relatable lyrics and sing-along choruses over all else. Now on their fourth album, Kings Of The New Age (Pure Noise), pop punk hotshots State Champs continue to freely put out the same kind of music they have always loved.


Many of the songs on Kings share an encouraging and optimistic nature under lyrics that seem negative at first listen. ‘Eventually’ goes into internal battles with both mental and physical health issues, but is essentially about gaining the motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Frontman Derek DiScanio sings, “I can’t imitate at any cost, but I can ride it ‘til the wheels fall off. Wanna break away from me, let’s get lost, so lost.”

Lead single ‘Just Sound’ has a radiant chorus that sounds like it’s meant to be listened to on the highway with the windows rolled down. ‘Outta My Head’ and ‘Some Minds Don’t Change’ each include tasteful guitar solos from Tyler Szalkowski – the group’s secret weapon who often doesn’t get enough time to shine in his full glory.


Instant classic ‘Everybody But You’ is sure to have show-goers chanting at the top of their lungs for many years to come. The song is a celebratory anthem for the end of a toxic relationship and features Neck Deep’s Ben Barlow as well as a lively combination of acoustic guitar lines and booming riffs – in other words, the ultimate pop punk recipe.


The moving ‘Half Empty’ brings the band’s pop rock expertise to a new level. It opens with a guitar effect that mimics the dynamic sway of a violin, backed by pounding drums and distant “whoa-ing” vocals as if it’s being sung from mountaintops. Chrissy Costanza of Against the Current is featured for the gradual build-up into the final chorus when she backs DiScanio for some uplifting harmonies. The guest artists don’t stop there with country pop singer Mitchell Tenpenny on ‘Act Like That’ and old-school pop punkers Four Year Strong on ‘Sundress’.


As their songwriting skills grow, the hearts of State Champs never stray from the bouncing and fun-loving sound that got them where they are today. Staying true to their roots while becoming one of the biggest bands in modern pop punk, Kings Of The New Age reminds the community of the lighthearted charm the genre has that won’t be going away any time soon.


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7 / 10