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Sports Team - Gulp! (Album Review)

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Lauren Maccabee

‘Gulp!’ is the second album from Cambridge indie band Sports Team, and sees the sextet deliver 10 tracks of rousing rock with smashy, humorous lyrics and shoutalong choruses, if not much in the way of a unique personality.

Sonically landing somewhere between the pop-punk of Feeder and the loutish brinkmanship of the Fratellis, it will likely expand the UK audience they found with 2020’s ‘Deep Down Happy’ without necessarily breaking new markets.

There are some skilful moments. R Entertainment is a chugging rocker that skips along with call and response melodies and satirical lyrics.

Thematically it’s a more metaphysical version of The Jam’s That’s Entertainment, but despite (or possibly because of) this, the song stops short of landing any noteworthy commentary.

Similarly, The Game offers some prime guitar riffage with a huge sound and some pretty compelling generalisms for middle England: “Oh yeah, that’s the game / Life’s hard and I can’t complain.” It’s enjoyable, harmless stuff.

When Britpop became a global cultural phenomenon in the 1990s, there was a bit of a gold rush for bands like Sports Team. A&R managers would scour the indie nights of Manchester or Glasgow, hoping to sign up the next Oasis. In 2022, with guitar music in a bit of a comeback, there is clearly renewed interest here but ‘Gulp!’ is still a fairly unremarkable album. For all its charm and energy, this record would likely have been ignored during the Britpop era—it simply does not have enough memorable tunes or a fresh spin on old blueprints.

All of which seems pretty harsh, to be honest. Sports Team built their following through fun, explosive live shows and it’s easy to see them featuring on the festival circuit for the next decade. But this is not particularly interesting music and there are still half a dozen indie bands out there (Fontaines DC, Fat White Family to name two) who do what ‘Gulp!’ is trying to do better.

Sports Team Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue October 11 2022 - LEEDS Leeds Uni Stylus
Wed October 12 2022 - GLASGOW Garage
Thu October 13 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Fri October 14 2022 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Sun October 16 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Mon October 17 2022 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall Southampton
Wed October 19 2022 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu October 20 2022 - NORWICH Nick Rayns LCR
Fri October 21 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse
Mon October 24 2022 - BELFAST Limelight 2
Tue October 25 2022 - DUBLIN Academy

Compare & Buy Sports Team Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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