It is ambiguous whether All Champs Go to Heaven is a concept album. It certainly plays like one, with recurring themes and a distinct beginning, middle, and end. It is a testament to the album’s scope and ambition that it leaves the impression of a completed oeuvre.
It is an alt-rock spiritual; a love letter to longing. It talks about losing touch with something precious: a friend, a companion? A lover, or some spirit? And it talks about finding things that were lost. Homecoming and departures. The band refers to its namesake in this sense late in the album: desperately wanting to return to a beloved place.
Musically, All Champs represents the things we love about alternative rock. Featuring bright, lyric guitars and toe-tapping energy, the album bounces back and forth between radio-ready hooks, extended instrumental interludes, spoken word soliloquies, and soul-scorching solos wherever they serve the spirit of the record. From baroque to bombastic, not one of their bold decisions seem forced or out of place; it’s a rare case where medium and message elevate each other.
Maybe the reason the record plays like a concept album is because every element of the process seems deliberate and purposeful. The album was recorded completely DIY in their living room, with help from friends, reels and recorders purchased off craigslist, and a lot to learn as they went. The result is a work of art thoroughly representative of the band’s vision – a nugget of pure, independent, alt-rock beauty.