‘Fantasy Error’ is the latest LP release by country punk storytellers State Champion. Featuring the vocal talents of the great Catherine Irwin of the Louisville/Chicago band Freakwater, singer Ryan Davis has crafted a series of folklore esque compositions that reveal dreamlike glimpses of American life carried by a ramshackle collection of loose trad instrumentation.
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- Fantasy Error by State Champion
8/10 Robin Staff review, 01 July 2015
I can’t help but think this is all so sweet. State Champion are a crew of punks (read: ramshackle folkies) from Louisville with an affection for noise, but mainly a great deal of compassion for the strange scene they live in. On ‘Fantasy Errors’, they create a sound you might expect from anyone who simultaneously outgrows and pines after their hometown: it has signs of the place, dug into the countrified twang and the wholesome voices, and strands of what they must have dug up on the internet or at shows -- mathy riffs, technical post-rock drumming and visceral folk-punk storytelling.
The record seethes into view with two slow-burning tunes that sound like the band are trying to add country trinkets to their sound -- it finally properly comes into view on the back-and-forth chord chugging of “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love”, which is rawly and earnestly played off like a Nana Grizol song. The band are fond for memories, believe in grand things like love and try to embed them in pretty riffs. It shifts into “Wake Me Up”, another tune whose lyrics are well fitted to the naive, wide-eyed music cosying up against them: “even the darkest and deepest of this apartment’s secrets can be seen by the light of a TV”, the band sing over rushes of viola.
I’m a sucker for cowpunk, that’s for true, but State Champion’s music isn’t like Titus Andronicus spewing over watery riffs or the Men chewin’ on the folk canon -- rather, it’s slacker guitar music that seems totally blissed out on every turn, spinning a bad day into a wonderful thing. Like, “If you’re gonna laugh at me, I’ll laugh with you”? May I be the first to say awh.
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