Sports Team create a record for the festival season that never came

Sports Team create a record for the festival season that never came
Reader Rating2 Votes

There will always be a crowd for indie rock, no matter the strain. There will never be a shortage of Pretty Green wearing, dark fruits toting teenagers eager to mosh at the drop of a bucket hat. With their debut, Sports Team are aiming to be the next target of the indie teen obsession. 

However, in covering a range of themes from class disparity to former MTV stars, Deep Down Happy never quite finds its feet. It’s an appropriate muddle of themes and ideas that never quite piece together – but perhaps that’s the point.

Musically, Deep Down Happy is remarkably positive. Impressive post-rock basslines crash against spiralling guitar progressions in a way that’s both inventive and strangely charming. It is the impressive soundscapes that make this album more than just another dreary indie rock number. I can already hear the Leeds Festival crowds chanting along.

Trying to turn topical, Deep Down Happy tackles politicians and Brexiteers in a way that seems almost empty and performative; the ideas are there, but they never quite make it to fruition. This creates a fake “wokeness” that tinges the rest of the album. The messages they are trying to convey hold good intentions, but do they really add anything new to the already bustling conversations that have been created by other bands in the past? Nah.

Album opener ‘Lander’ is unapologetically Sports Team. Referencing the “Aldershot Municipal Gardens”, Sports Team are not trying to hide from their middle-class upbringing like many modern bands. The frantic drum pattern attacks the disorientating lyrics to replicate the chaos of a quarter life crisis. It would be the perfect soundtrack to a sad job hunt, as you scour the internet for a dream career that never transpires. However, the songs lyrics are mainly a rush of thoughts that seem exclusive to the youth of Britain’s middle class, satirical or not.

‘The Races’ delivers an insight into gammon culture, describing a union jack wearing patriot that embodies every awful factor of the British public. We all know a guy like this, either he’s always in your local, or he’s out “defending” war memorials. The critique of this kind of bloke is perhaps the most effective on the album: “He’ll never buy you a drink/But he’ll let you know he can” perfectly captures the all-talk mentality of these kinds of people. The heavy footed riff that kicks off and continues throughout the tune captures the plodding menace of the track’s antagonist, resembling the boisterous opinions of right-wing Britain.

The remainder of the record holds a smattering of cheery standout tracks. ‘Born Sugar’ is a straightforward hit and is more relaxed than a lot of the other songs on the album. The confident chorus delivery creates a perfect pairing between Alex Rice’s vocals and the assured steadiness of the tracks screaming guitar. ‘Here’s the Thing’ is a snappy number listing a bunch of lies we have all been told in our life, thriving off its chaotic and loud energy. It’s designed to make you move. My head’s bobbing just thinking about it.

On Deep Down Happy an attempt has clearly been made. The effort’s there, as is the musical ability – it’s the attempted message that, for me, drags the album down. But will they manage to keep their fanbase of mosh-hungry teens despite this? I think so.

Haiku Review:
Perfect for mosh pits,
Needs a stronger message though.
A solid debut.