REVIEW: State Champs – ‘The Acoustic Things’

State Champs - The Acoustic Things Cover

2014 has left the State Champs New Yorkers with quite a busy schedule. After finishing a long journey on the Vans Warped Tour all summer, they are soon to head out on the Pure Noise Records Tour and will be ending the year with a UK tour supporting New Found Glory. Along with touring, they found the time to record and release an acoustic album titled, The Acoustic Things. The release will feature five songs that were from The Finer Things (2013) and includes two new songs. The pop-punk band consists of Derek Discanio (vocals), Tyler Szalkowski (guitar), Tony Diaz (guitar), Evan Ambrosio (drums), and Ryan Scott Graham (bass).

In today’s music industry, when releasing a solid first full length album it is almost guaranteed it will be followed with an acoustic album release, especially in today’s pop punk world. When releasing an acoustic album, it makes that current release run much longer and the artist can continue to play off of that. This can work towards a bands favor, or unfortunately work against them. Sometimes the acoustic version isn’t meant for the singer, and the vocals aren’t always transferred the same. With the instrumentation, it can sometimes lack quality when being broken down. For State Champs, the release of their acoustic album titled The Acoustic Things, has worked perfectly for them. The vocals, performed by Discanio seem just as smooth, if not smoother than what was released on their on full album, The Finer Things and the instrumentalists are able to show a different style of musicality. Different instruments were brought into play with this acoustic release and it gives a completely different feel. The Acoustic Things provides the lyrics with an opportunity to stand out on their own.

Although almost all of the songs on The Acoustic Things are the same songs that were previously featured on The Finer Things, they have a completely differently feel and sound like brand new songs. With both the instruments and vocals taking a step back, you are able to really pay attention to the words that are being presented. When listening to both versions of the same songs back to back, they each have a different emotion attached to them, and that can be difficult for artists to achieve. With that being said, State Champs was still able to keep the beat up and the songs still flow smoothly. While listening its almost impossible to move along with the guitar. For some artists, their vocals can get a little muddy when slowing things down, but that just was not the case here. The vocals are strong, clear, and soft when need be. Derek articulates the hard consonants even better here than on their The Finer Things release. All of the chord progressions are crisp and clean.

The two new tracks featured on this release are titled, “Leave You In The Dark,” and “If I’m Lucky.” Both of these tracks reveal a more vulnerable side to this group of guys.

“Leave You In The Dark” has a brand new sound for State Champs. Yes it is also an acoustic song like every other song, but none of them quite sound like this one. The start verses have vocals that are soft, smooth and light, and unlike what Derek is used to showcasing. The choruses are upbeat with catchy acoustic guitars and shakers, backed with gang vocals. There is a solid rhythm that is impossible to ignore.

“If I’m Lucky,” is definitely a track that win over fans very quickly. Let alone Derek’s vocals that will make everyone’s ears melt, it is another song that you can’t help but nod your head and move your body along with. Finger snaps and tambourines were brought into play and it just blends so well with everything else. This track does a great job of keeping instruments and vocals balanced. Neither of them are over powering of each other.

The Acoustic Things is a solid acoustic album for the pop-punk genre of music. State Champs understands how to re-release new versions of old music and make it sound fresh again. The two new songs featured are not to be look passed. Fans will soak this album up. If there is one album that you are planning on checking out, make this one a priority, you don’t want to miss out on it.