The gruesome twosome of guitarist Maxwell Moore and drummer Raney Aboud shows what its learned on the heels of Augusts awesome Rad Vibes, yet knows to keep the things that made Cosmostanza so intriguing in the first place: sugary hooks, youthful energy. Champs is grown-up a bit, yes, more grounded and dare I say mature, but still very much a fun-loving record at heart.
Avant-Garde starts off with a Japandroids The House That Heaven Built boom. Its followed by the NES-glorifying Never Cool, recalling fellow OKC punks The Copperheads.
A symbol-titled track lets call it Bug combusts into a pseudo-bluesy breakdown that would do Mark Sultan proud, and the pair gets even more amped up with Electric Forest, playing out like Metallicas Ride the Lightning as translated by Jeff the Brotherhood. Its loud and furious, but warm and fuzzy at the same time.
In closing, the duo sneezes out the snotty Teenage Waste, boasting some unexpectedly formidable guitar licks and a massive melody.
Champs finds good ideas being met by better production, musicianship and, most important, songwriting. Who knows what the two high school seniors might accomplish once graduation is in the rearview?