The 1990’s and 2000’s. Pop Punk is at its mainstream peak – blink-182 are playing on the radio, Fall Out Boy are on the pages of gossip magazines, the kids are learning how to skateboard. Gone are the angry cries of the hardcore genre, replaced by teenage romance and the sunny sides of youth.
State Champs might have entered the scene at a later point, but they’re doing their very best to keep the familiar pop punk sound alive.
In 2010, when emo pop and a new wave of post-hardcore bands were winning over pop punk fans, five guys from New York decided to stick to the roots. State Champs formed in Spring and it didn’t take them longer than a few months to release their first EP EP 2010. The following year saw them release a second EP and embarking on their first tour. After signing to Californian punk label Pure Noise Records in 2012 and supporting bands such as Citizen and Handguns, State Champs celebrated their breakthrough with their 2013 debut The Finer Things.
The happy-go-lucky album did not only chart on the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 2 of the Billboard Heatseekers Albums. British rock magazine RockSound included it in their list of “50 Best Albums of 2013” and considered it an instant classic by putting it on their “The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time” chart to boot. The album was promoted during State Champs’ first full US tour, followed by concerts in the UK and Mainland Europe, where they shared the stage with several other successful acts of the genre.
Some bands would have succumbed under the pressure such a successful debut put on them, but State Champs isn’t one of them. Their 2015 follow-up Around The World And Back doesn’t reinvent pop punk, but its catchy hooks mingling with soulful declarations of love garnered them similarly favourable attention as The Finer Things.
In June 2018, the quintet dropped their third album Living Proof, on which they display that staying true to one’s established sound doesn’t mean there’s no room for diversity. The experimentation with heavy bass lines, the piano, and acoustic tracks all pay off well.