Feel-good riffs and an infectious, summery energy abound on album opener Here To Stay. It’s a trademark slab of melody-infused fun, and a song with the sing-along properties that belong, at the very least, in a Slam Dunk Festival headline set. More buoyant pop-punk arrives in the form of Eventually and Outta My Head, while Neck Deep frontman Ben Barlow makes a fitting appearance on head-bopper Everybody But You. The two most prominent names from the 2010s wave of pop-punk, it’ll be a treat for fans of said generation to see State Champs and Neck Deep team up on a song, especially one which works so seamlessly.
As well as Ben, country-pop artist Mitchell Tenpenny (Act Like That) and easycore heroes Four Year Strong (the anthemic Sundress) also feature on Kings Of The New Age, but it’s the appearance of Chrissy Costanza – vocalist of pop-rockers Against The Current – that results in the most interesting song. Said track, Half Empty, starts out with riffs heavier than your average State Champs tune, and goes on to grow into a straight-up rock song that strays from the pop-punk playbook. It’s an interesting change of pace and a song that works really well, with the instrumentation thick and sparse at various points. As SC continue to grow into a genuinely big rock band, it’s promising to see that they can mix things up without losing impact.