Sports Team waste no time. When “Lander” kicks in, it’s sort of like that moment in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, when the camera pans down after the main crawl and you immediately see Princess Leia’s ship zoom over the top of the screen being pursued by Darth Vader’s. Something has happened right before it, you missed it, but it’s so exciting you can do nothing but come along for a ride. That’s basically what their debut, Deep Down Happy sounds like - moments you’re dropped into that are thrilling.
“Here It Goes Again” pogos right in, with sinewy guitar and vocals that feel straight out of the mid ’00’s indie rock boom. “Going Soft” has some Britpop swagger courtesy of vocalist Alex Rice, it’s loud-quiet-loud verses carrying an air of confidence that only a band with everything to prove and nothing to lose could effectively pull off.
The Pavement-esque vibe of “Long Hot Summer” has an easy way about it, full of shimmying, gliding guitar, while “Feels Like Fun” feels like it could be a Bloc Party deep cut. “Here’s The Thing” feels like it has a future as a TV-show theme song, or at the very least, exciting bumper music. “Fishing” has an insistent, anxious shuffle and the album closer “Stations of the Cross” is a little spaced out, but nonetheless anthemic.
And that’s just it. The songs on Deep Down Happy buzz with energy and pop with huge hooks, great riffs and interminable swagger. Sports Team have made a record that you don’t come by too often these days. Buoyed by the weight of its unstoppable, infectious enthusiasm, it’s one of the year’s best. Turn it on, turn it up loud, sing-along. We all certainly can use some of that right now.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media