This band never fails to amaze me.
State Champs released their new EP Unplugged on August 14, 2020 via Pure Noise Records and it exceeded my expectations. Known for their hard-hitting pop punk anthems, Unplugged shows a softer side of the band containing four new acoustic tracks and two acoustic reimaginations of existing songs.
“A Thousand Hearts,” featuring the insanely talented saxophonist Saxl Rose, had me in tears before the first chorus. It’s been a while since a State Champs song has made me sit and cry instead of getting the urge to open a pit in my room. My favorite track on the EP, “The Recipe” is definitely the underdog of the effort since we already knew what to expect from the acoustic Living Proof tracks prior to the release. Honestly, everyone needs to stop sleeping on this song and give it the respect it deserves. “The Recipe” is weirdly relatable and the guitar is impeccable.
“10 AM” is the biggest bop on the album. The track is fun, different and we don’t get to hear songs like this from State Champs often. The best part, by far, are the harmonies between Derek DiScanio and Ryan Scott Graham. Let’s be honest though, that’s the best part of any State Champs song, their voices blending together so well.
The first taste of the new era, “Crying Out Loud” proves State Champs really knew what they were doing when they put this after “10 AM,” managing to mend my heart after the opening track just to break it again with this one. It’s so hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics, “There’s nothing worse than losing confidence,” really hit home for me.
DiScanio blew me away with his vocal performance on “Criminal.” We all know and love this song to pit to from Living Proof, but this acoustic rendition allows us to calmly enjoy the song without wanting to punch anyone. The EP unfortunately has to come to an end, but State Champs chose a great way to do it with “Dead and Gone.” Other than the lyric change that has everyone in shock, it’s another relaxing way to listen to a classic State Champs song and will be the version I listen to while driving because I physically cannot listen to the regular version without speeding.
Unplugged just blew every other release this year out of the water, and with a possible full-length record in 2021, State Champs is showing no signs of slowing down. If you haven’t listened to Unplugged, I highly suggest you do ASAP because this is not an EP to sleep on.
Keep on spinning,