State Champs new EP Unplugged features four new songs and two reworked songs compiling a short but sweet summer hang out playlist. The EP is a nice addition to the band’s catalog and something to check out while fans wait for new music to come (hopefully) next year.
The four new songs on the EP are at the front while the two reworked songs are at the tail end of the set. “A Thousand Hearts”, “The Recipe”, “10 AM”, and “Crying Out Loud” are all new songs for State Champs that do different things. “A Thousand Hearts” (featuring the amazingly named Saxl Rose on saxophone) – could have come out in 2006 alongside of Landon Pigg and Colbie Callait and crushed them both at pop radio. “The Recipe” is a cool tease for a song that could sound 10x cooler fully fleshed out in electric/energetic form. “10 AM” doesn’t really sound like an acoustic song – there’s a lot of production added to an acoustic guitar – but it’s a nice song that would make for a cool lighter song on an album in the feature for the band. “Crying Out Loud” is probably the most acoustic song of the new songs on the set. You can hear hints of what it would sound like in it’s normal form by the band, but it was left unpolished and lightly produced. It’s a song that’s more about the performance than the song itself and it’s a good one.
The two reworked songs are State Champs favorites “Criminal” and “Dead and Gone.” Both songs are anthems in their normal forms but acoustically they come off as more emotional and more genuine. The band gave “Criminal” a bluegrass/country vibe to it that sounds amazing. It’s a clear highlight on the set and it rivals the original version of the song in quality. “Dead & Gone” utilizes a lot of space in its normal version, but the acoustic version doesn’t do that. A light guitar strum and lots of nuanced instrumentation accompanies Derek Discanio’s normally wailing, but now smooth vocal, and it ends up being a cool version of the song.
State Champ’s Unplugged EP is a worthy listen. It’s a cool idea for the band to release the set and it was executed remarkably well. This is probably one of the coolest acoustic releases that’s been dropped in the past decade or so.