Eric Schackne

REVIEW: State Champs – Overslept EP

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I have a soft spot for pop punk, missing my alarm, and regional tournament winners.  So it only makes sense that I’d be stoked to listen to Overslept, the debut EP from Albany’s own State Champs.  Right off the bat, I like the first track “Tonsil Hockey.”  It’s a theatrical way to intro a (hopefully) pretty loud record.  I’m into the song though, I feel like they’re saying “we’re here, we make noise,” and when you’ve almost had enough, the feel of the song changes giving you no choice but to bounce your head.

I love how the second track, “Critical” swings you right into this epic distorted guitar riff.  Derek DiSanio’s Vocals are a little buried for my taste, but that doesn’t stop me from moving to it right away.  Derek’s voice strikes me though, with a mixture of well-crafted clear inflection countered with a screamier Thrice-esque tone.  The break into the second half of the intro was really fresh and that really brought the song home for me.  There’s a heaviness to their pop punk that I’m tempted to credit in part to engineer Jay Maas at Gateway Recording Studio.  Jay Maas has been behind releases by Transit and a slew of harder bands signed to Bridge Nine Records and others.

The third track, “We Are The Brave” is super catchy and in your face.  The intro brought Green Day to mind, but swiftly transitioned into a head-bouncing guitar anthem.  The gang vocals were cool, but a little less effective when pushed down by the rest of the instrumentation.  I couldn’t really feel the energy gang vocals can supply.

The closing track, “Remedy” has a vague New Found Glory feel as the intro brings you into the first verse.  I love when second verses throw you into some fast pop punk drums because those parts lend themselves well toward great live moments.  This song is just a semi-catchy chorus with some time to jump around in between.

Overslept is a decent debut release.  I found it a little reminiscent of early Fall Out Boy or other older pop punk, with sprinkles of newer drum fills and builds.  I wish I could have heard all of the vocals more clearly through the mix because sometimes I’d hear DiSanio end a phrase with a really intense sounding note that kept me wanting to hear more of what he sang.

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