The Audition - Champion

The less poppy but more punky 'Have Gun Will Travel' hints at the possibility of a forthcoming change in direction just as the curtain starts to fall.

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Released 29 Jan 2008 | Victory | By Bruno Hat | Rating: 3
The Audition - Champion

'Champion', the second full length offering from Chicago's The Audition, is a fast-paced and straight to the point infectious pop-punk record. With no unnecessary noodling or posturing to break up the momentum, it rocks and rolls in an uncomplicated fashion from start to finish. Slick and well-produced, it would appear it's going to be no stranger to the airwaves either.

The opening three tracks 'Basbhat', 'Warm Me Up' and 'Heaven For The Weather' all follow the same riff heavy formula - addictive hooks and go-stop-go arrangements careering from funky verses to frantic choruses. Then suddenly, mid-album, it all goes mid-tempo with 'What Gets You Through The Night' and it's here that the band sound at their most organic, with singer Danny Stevens in particular beginning to sound as if he's enjoying himself. In 'Make It Rain' we find the boys donning the uniform of The Police and the less poppy but more punky 'Have Gun Will Travel' hints at the possibility of a forthcoming change in direction just as the curtain starts to fall.

Musically The Audition seem to know what they're doing - where they let themselves down though is lyrically. Take 'Warm Me Up' for instance: "Come closer to me baby, I've got everything you need, to feed your hunger pains for tonight"; no lie, kids, he actually says this. Danny Stevens is no word warrior, but it must be said, what he lacks in lyrical imagination he more than makes up for by aquiting himself well in the role of pop vocalist. In album opener 'Basbhat' he even seems to have mastered the acronym... well it's a start.

Like a lot of bands coming in at the tail end of a scene, The Audition have long been dogged by comparisons - with Fall Out Boy and Maroon 5 chief among the monkeys on their backs. Now, if there's room, we can add Justin Timberlake to the list, but really, when you can make an album this catchy does it even matter? 'Champion' isn't a record destined to shake the scene up, but with plenty of anthemic singalongs and guitar hero solos it will probably see them safely onto the podium; if not as Champions then certainly in the silver or bronze positions.