Living Proof – State Champs

9 September 2019

State Champs have quickly become one of the key players in the pop-punk revival happening now. “Living Proof,” the latest release from the Albany, NY, rock band further secures State Champs’ place as a mainstay in the new pop-punk scene – even if the record is pretty typical pop-punk. But typical pop-punk is by no means a bad thing; far from it, in fact.

The highlight of this album is the passion that Derek DiScanio brings with his voice on every track. An unexpected favorite on the record is “Time Machine.” This song takes a slower approach and is not quite as pop-punk as most of the other tracks. However, this allows DiScanio’s voice to be the focus, and the passion and emotion that he brings to the track makes it a standout. The feature of Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus is great as well.

The lead single from the album, “Dead and Gone,” is reminiscent of All Time Low and is another one of the best tracks on the album. The chorus is big and catchy and features some excellent guitar work by lead guitarist Tyler Szalkowski. I really appreciate the use of more mellow picking on the verses, as it offers a nice reprieve from the usual palm-muted power chords that are so prevalent in pop-punk music.

Unfortunately, I found many of the tracks blending into one another due to their similarities. This does not mean that the songs are bad, it just means that the album as a whole can get a bit repetitive, despite each song being very good.

A strong suit of State Champs on this record is great choruses. The choruses are infectious and powerful, due in part to DiScanio’s strong vocal performance.

“Living Proof” is a marked improvement over 2015’s “Around the World and Back,” It delivers strong choruses and excellent vocal work, despite getting repetitive after a full listen-through. State Champs keep improving with each release, and I am excited for any new music coming from them.

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