The Audition - Champion
This review was difficult. The Audition literally came out of near obscurity when Victory announced that Champion was in route to hipster stereos globally and suddenly a maelstorm of "omfg i luuuuuuuuuv da audition!!!!111~11~1!!s" were spewed across the message boards that serve as havens to aforementioned hipsters (looking at you, Decoymusic.com and Altpress.com). Now, some would say "Sean, how dare you call out these music fans and the websites within which they dwell?" Because these havens are fucking plagues that leech onto any band with nasally vocals and popdowns (definition: break downs that simplisitic and overused within the pop-punk genre. Yes, I just invented this term) that in my (expert) opinion don't thoroughly examine these albums. "Get off your high horse, Sean." No thanks, this horse is taking me to the top (of this review).
Flip side, I totally was stoked for the new album. Controversy Loves Company was an infectious pop-punk album, granted that was generally weak and generic, but I'm sorry, it was as catchy as the herpes your dorm's slut has. I was curious whether Champion would be Controversy, part two. Surprisingly, it wasn't. Danny Stevens, the vocalist, grasped this facade of a voice on the first album, but didn't attempt to really carry any melody just kind of popchanted his way through the album (Dennis Scanland, you need to copyright all terminology I compose within this review). Champion, however, we are introduced to some miserable composition of a range that actually adds an interesting feature to a band that other than that would have nothing innovative going for it.
Granted, there is nothing new about Stevens' voice. Been there done, heard that, however, you can't deny or downplay the clear effort he put into improving his voice. It definitely has some tripping in its gate (The "I was never alone" in "Basbhat" ). In other songs it helps take away from the uninspired lyrics ("Warm Me Up"). Basically, it appears the Audition's new tactic is to use Stevens' vocals to save a song that normally would be horrible. Granted, these songs are terrible lyrically and generic musically, they are still incredibly catchy and enjoyable because you can't not be affected by the infectious energy that spews out of the 10 tracks. "Edinboro" is pop-punk's "Jude Law and A Semester Aboard" with uninspired lyrics but equally immature composition with a dash of energy. "What Gets You Through The Night" is your necessary slow song but The Audition doesn't pull it off and would have been off without its presence.
Champion doesn't really champion anything but it doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable. It's a cup of tea act, like most pop-punk acts; it's only slightly different from its neighbor but the shrubs are the same and they own the same minivan. Just different occupants from slightly different backgrounds but went to the same college/high school and now their kids go to the same school (synopsis: it's different but the same).
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