Sports Team – ‘Keep Walking!’ | EP Review

Photo By Lauren Maccabee

Sports Team Deliver Their Second 5-Star EP!

High expectations are a dangerous thing. They can make an otherwise good work feel less than satisfying, only because the expectations were in the first place almost impossible to meet. On the strength of their previous work, I came to this new EP by Sports Team with very high expectations.

I am pleased to say that, in spite of this, I was not disappointed. Keep Walking! has exactly the kind of growth I was hoping to see from this band, together with a well-thought internal coherence, a distinctive voice possessing the necessary confidence to adapt to different paces and moods, and a high production value. And, of course, some memorable tunes.

What Sticks Out!

Production is a great strength of this work. Far too many studio songs these days face the issue of sounding over-produced and underwhelming when compared to their live counterparts, but here production is smooth and attentive, never too intrusive or excessive, a model that one can hope will become more prevalent on the indie scene. This is couple with a sense of genuine enjoyment in playing with different expressions of a sound that has now become more rounded and mature.

One might think of influences ranging from Pulp to the early Smiths with a nod to Jarvis Cocker, but by this point Sports Team are doing very much their own thing. Vocalist Alex Rice goes from mellow to jarring with confidence and ease. A full-bodied bass line opens some of the tracks and remains on the background throughout, like a heartbeat. Guitars go from a clean, vaguely retro bop to a rougher, almost electronic, occasionally distorted sound.

The EP

The EP starts and end on very strong notes. Single ‘M5‘ is a perfect opener, catchy, quirky, ironic, and with a jumpy beat that will no doubt make it a favourite at live gigs.

Closing track ‘Georgie’ has to be my personal favourite, delivering a harder punch than the rest of the EP and with an abrupt, brash start that is surprisingly reminiscent of The Clash.

Photo by Louise Mason

Sandwiched in between are three tracks with distinct personalities. ‘Get Along‘ has its roots in the Sixties and plays with big choruses and occasional disruption. ‘Ski Lifts‘ has a pop-rock vibe and some hammering lyrics that make for a vaguely surreal listen. And ‘Casper’ is an almost-ballad, melancholy in mood and softer in sound, but with a pinch of that irony that is ever-present in this work.

Overall

The exclamation mark in the title may be a pointer to the confidence of the statement that Sports Team are making with this EP. The good news is that they absolutely have good reason to be confident. Keep Walking! is a cleverly conceived, elegantly executed, highly personal work that definitely feels like a prelude for something bigger. I, for one, am starting to wonder what an album from this band might sound like. With high expectations, of course.

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