Anyone who wasn’t within earshot of Wolf Alice at Reading 2022 will tell you alternative rock is having a moment (again). The key to gaining recognition and success in this new wave, which should really be called All-Wave, is to embrace a wide variety of indie and pop styles, past and present, and thereby confuse the almighty algorithm so that it finds you recommends to everyone.
This makes the London sports team the natural successor to Wolf Alice. A hugely ambitious bunch – they booked an early gig at La Scala when their entire social media following combined wouldn’t have filled the seat but were still sold out – their shows are colorful affairs, often featuring hand-painted costume box outfits, cardboard cats and bus tours to Margate. Their music is just as unpredictable. debut album Deeply happy Hit Number Two in 2020 on the basis of a hodgepodge of quirky, lightning-fast songs that span the gamut of indie pop of the ’90s and ’00s – as much pavement and parquet courts as Franz Ferdinand and Blur – and delve into themes shaped by Fishing with Friends to Ashton Kutcher and Demi Rich Moore’s Marriage
Second album gulp! expands the scope even further, with some startling results. Opener “The Game” is wild glam rock ‘n’ roll, “Dig” is a motorized fusion of The Stooges and The Dandy Warhols. Both “The Drop” and “Cool It Kid” cap Blur’s grunge era with a Berlin Bowie post-punk twist, while “R Entertainment” moves further into the new wave to bring Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” for the synth rock age. There’s Cramps-indebted swamp rock (“Unstuck”), pirate punk (“Kool Aid”), Dexy’s folk-pop (“Getting Better”), and even a finale of wistful indie-rock bombast somewhere between Eels, The Set in Cure and Gorky’s, Zygotic Mynci is about “Light Industry”. Happy hour at the all-you-can-eat alt rock buffet is clearly on.
But to shake the Eddie Argos out of his voice, singer Alex Rice still favors the occasional comedic side. The Drop, for example, asks, “Why don’t you dance with me? Is it the tie?” – but the album’s themes suggest more weighty concerns are creeping in. “Life’s tough, but I can’t complain,” Rice sings on “The Game,” and that’s about as optimistic as it gets. “Dig” denounces drowning his problems in alcohol; R Entertainment laments the fears of the social media age; “Kool Aid” deals with the spread of conspiracy theories. “Getting Better” is as gleefully clap as can be when faced with an ungodly death (“It only gets better until it gets worse and they’ll put you in the garden under six feet of earth”). “Fingers” describes a complete rattling punk apocalypse. There are no eyebrows, though — it’s all delivered so wildly that it’s easy to just savor it gulp! like the alt-pop pick ‘n’ mix it is. go gorge.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/sports-team-review-gulp-b2172257.html Looking back at the sports team, gulp! – Wild Alt-Pop Pick’n’Mix