Sports Team have made quite a name for themselves off the back of a long live history in London. The Cambridge-established 6-piece continue to impress after a stellar 2018 and are back with their latest offering, the Keep Walking! EP.
The band’s first foray into music came in the form of last year’s Winter Nets EP – so popular you’ll be hard-pressed to find a vinyl copy as its first pressing completely sold out. Combined with an unmistakable live presence and expanding fanbase (who have apparently set up their own dedicated WhatsApp group – is this how things have evolved now?) they’re firmly at the helm of guitar music.
Their lyrics aren’t dressed up and they don’t pretend to be something they’re not, unlike a lot of guitar bands in trying to make it in the capital who I’ll decline to name. On single ‘M5’, lead singer Alex Rice laments the struggles of trundling along everyone’s favourite Midlands/South West highway: “What a cheek, undertaking anyone at 70… Jelly bean / air freshener swinging in your window screen… Speaker phone, speaking very very loudly on your speaker phone” – even if you’ve only driven on a motorway a few times like I have (sorry, I’ve lived in London for the past four years), we’ve all been there. Think of this ode to life’s mundane struggles next time you see someone hogging the middle lane.
Second track ‘Get Along’ speaks to anyone who’s ever moved away from home and finds themselves reaching for their phone at every minor inconvenience (“He’s got a flat, it’s just south of the river / He spends his weekend talking to his mother”). It’s on a similar tangent to ‘M5’, a punchy, irony-filled anthem of Pulp-esque audacity for the commuters.
‘Ski Lifts’ screams of confidence and rightly so. Here Sports Team have opted for a more pop-rock feel but with the usual poetic cynicism. It seems like a bit of fun for them, a live favourite with sing-along lyrics and bouncy riffs. It’s making me fancy an Aperol Spritz and a return to Tamworth Snowdome.
For such an band it was refreshing to see a slower, mellow song on the tracklist. Penultimate tune ‘Casper’ is a breath of fresh air; its opening notes are reminiscent of Coffee-And-TV-Blur in a refreshing middle ground of melancholy undercurrents. ‘Georgie’ is the pièce-de-résistance, kicking off with crisp Pavement-esque vocals from Rice and leaving me struggling to find a favourite number.
Their success last year left me wanting more from Sports Team, and they’ve delivered it spectacularly. Every inch of Keep Walking! is an absolute treat.
Keep Walking! Is out now via Holm Front.
Words by Holly Patrick