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Album #333: Sports Team – Deep Down Happy

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Cambridge, England
  • Label: Big Desert
  • Best Track: Here it Comes Again

I haven’t quite been sure how to approach this one. Sports Team, with their mix of Britpop and US alt-rock influences, scored a surprise #2 debut album back in June, even threatening to unseat Lady Gaga from the top spot.

This on a smallish label, with a very British album full of quirky lyrics and fast-paced guitars. I should be pleased for them, shouldn’t I?

Problem is, Sports Team are pricks. Or at least they come across that way.

I mean, take this interview, where they have a pop at HMLTD because of the college they went to, and slag off Idles and Shame while they’re at it. Or this article, which compares their behaviour to a “poverty safari”.

Trash-talking fellow bands is nothing new, but when Oasis did it, they were high-spirited lads off a council estate. Sports Team are Cambridge University graduates, and that gives it an altogether different dynamic – a sneery entitledness.

This snobbery filters into their music, where the vocals are grating. Lyrics can be clever, but mentions of Wetherspoons and the Slug & Lettuce sound scornful, as does pretty much all of ‘The Races’ .

There are one or two good songs, like ‘Here’s the Thing’ and ‘Here It Comes Again’, but I don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Part of liking a band is how much you identify and feel a sense of belonging with them, and until Sports Team have achieved a fraction of what Idles have done with their message and AFgang Facebook group, they can get back to school.

I suppose to be fair to Sports Team, they are young. I went a bit up my own arse at university and it’s probably just as well I didn’t write any music at the time. I wouldn’t put it past them to grow up and release something I can relate to more than this in the future, but Deep Down Happy is not for me.

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