All State Champion - All State Champion (Cover Artwork)

All State Champion

All State Champion (2003)

Five One, Inc.

With a name like All State Champion you're expecting a band that comes straight out of middle America where high school football is all the rage, however nothing is farther from the truth, considering they hail from Vancouver, BC. And just to clear up any confusion, this ep has been re-released. I own the original copy released in 2000 on Identity Records, whereas Five One Inc re-released this ep in October 2003, a mere 5 months before All State's first full length will hit stores. This band has been thrown into the genre 'post hardcore', however this label doesn't exactly stick. There is too much "emo" in their style, which has been described by their label as "lush rolls of guitar harmonics, feedback, and reverb reminiscent of 80's art rock/post punk [...] with influences of amazing music of the 80s & 90s, from Minor Threat to Jeff Buckley". OK, that quasi-sums it up. But I'm sure you just want to hear what I think or feel from the music so without further delay:

The Greatest comes cutting in with odd guitar harmonies and throws down a driving beat with anti-climatic breakdowns and well placed screams. You'll notice off the bat that what their label said about their reverb sound is not misplaced. Through It will show you what I mean about All State Champion not being exactly post hardcore. The intro definitely portrays that emo title tagged to anyone who plays soft rhythms that aren't exactly driving but still push a song. The bass also throws you some choice notes and adds another dimension to the band, whereas at the end of the tune, the guitars throw down the harmonics and place them very well. The bass in the intro to Mayday will draw your attention, while the guitars battle for your ears throughout the verses. The scream in the bridge might take you a little off guard, and may even grab a few laughs and the ending is abrupt and well thought out. The guitars play a little with the ends of the strings to start Once In A Lifetime (Cul de Sac) and the lead riffs will grab your ear and have you wondering how the hell to make your guitar do that, but maybe that's just me and my inexperience with a guitar. This is one of the only choruses that seems to flow on this album with more than just repeating the catch phrase of the song to the same riff, however it only appears once in the song at the end leaving a feeling of a loss of melody. The intro to Night and Day gives you another emo feel, with that low bass playing not quite what the guitars are playing, and the drums simply groove. The tone of the guitars that rock throughout this album add something different to the band that could be considered hit or miss since some people might prefer a heavier sound, but for All State Champion this is what works for them. Now unlike the last track, Night And Day's chorus makes more than one appearance and is a welcome addition to the song. It contributes a little more melody to this instrument driven tune, pushed by the constant rockouts and lead riffs. The final track,No Reply, is a quick little diddy that sums All State up. It contains all the elements of the previous songs and bottles them up into this one concise track.

If you're looking for a good emo/post-hardcore band with melody and catchy choruses, then this is not what you're looking for. All State Champion have made themselves a name with well placed background screams and reverb-laiden guitars, and have decided to take a road less travelled and let their guitars guide their music, as opposed to their vocals. If you're looking for music that will force you to pay attention and possibly sit and groove to the sometimes offcue rhythms and beats, then this might be what you've been searching for. This isn't an album to pump you up before the big game. This is just another album that will hurt your parents ears at first listen with nothing off the wall or ground breaking. With a full length being released in March 2004, nearly 4 years after the original release of this ep, the boys of All State Champion are looking to show some growth and attempt to claim a spot among the elite in the Canadian (and hopefully US) scene.