It feels like an aeon since Sports Team first appeared on the London live-circuit as an extremely rough-round-the-edges yet thoroughly entertaining live act. In fact, they’ve only been around for two years but that’s a heck of a long time in the hyper speed of current cultural movements. ‘Stanton’, a fan favourite and enduring set-closer, is the first recorded output from the band and fittingly, the first song the group penned together. It has certainly been worth the wait.
Producer Dave McCracken (Florence & The Machine, Ian Brown) has done a stellar job of encapsulating the wild and frantic onstage energy of the sextet into a rollicking piece of indie rock, recalling the slacker styles of Pavement after they’ve been plied with amphetamines. ‘Stanton’ stands as a showcase for the acerbic lyrical witticisms of Alex Rice, Sports Team’s linen-suited fulcrum. Live, he cuts a figure somewhere between the camp posturing of Mick Jagger, signature seizure dancing of Ian Curtis and the pint-swilling drawl of Mark E. Smith. On ‘Stanton’, we are introduced to Rice’s unique and oblique observational humour, replete with scathing admonishments of commuter-belt Britain and middle-class living. As the song reaches its apex the band play at their absolute limit, a mass of kinetic energy hurtling towards oblivion before collapsing entirely, instruments thrashed to within an inch of their lives. ‘Stanton’ is designed to whip both band are crowd alike into a sweaty and frantic throng, leaving everyone in the room emotionally and physically spent.
Having already gained a strong following as well as a certain reputation for unpredictable onstage antics, which often include Alex Rice engaging bewildered audience members in polite conversation or delivering soliloquies about TV chef Rick Stein, it seems Sports Team finally have the tracks to up the stakes. Expect them to take 2018 by storm.
Sports Team Live:
02/12 – Hairy Presents The Victoria All-Dayer, London – TICKETS
08/12 – Birthdays, London – FREE
By George Percival
Hard Of Hearing Music