Cub Sport Records (label)
18 January 2019 (released)
22 January 2019
Cub Sport strive for a sweet hearted edginess on their latest self-titled album and come up just short.
In the sophomore album Bats, the band focused on the lead singer’s love for a fellow bandmate, dealing with self-doubt, working through inner turmoil, and coming out as gay. Front man Tim Nelson, and colleague Sam Netterfield have since been married, and the LP makes it clear that the couple are very much in love.
The previous work focused on self-doubt and the storyteller’s fear of being unworthy of his lover’s affections. Across the 15 tracks, that theme is still present to a certain extent, but on the whole, it’s about sticking together and expressing the couples love for each other.
The third record’s second track, ‘Video’ shows the protagonist with fresh confidence. The singer states:
“I am not a label, object you'll project, did you forget?
I am no pedestrian, recycling, art, I am Mozart”.
The project is focused on expressing the couples love for each other. ‘I’m Not Scared’ implores “Move me like a tidal wave”, ‘Stars’ revels in a happy ending, and ‘Trees’, “couldn't put it into words…”
These tender sentiments typically come with gentle pop and R&B sounds. Occasionally songs even have a trance vibe to them.
In tunes like ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Come Out’, the singer admits to challenges he has to face or obstacles plaguing his thoughts. Nevertheless, whatever the problem or issue,a physical or emotional connection with his partner is enough to see the singer through.
While the album might gain points for its sweetheart, it loses them when trying to be edgy. ‘Limousine’'s early lyrics hold intrigue as the singer reveals:
“I keep on thinking 'bout the highs and the lows and all the tears at the shows, things only my angels know Things only my angels know I’m an open book now but I'm still writing it…”
The lyrics promise an interesting and frank discussion of the act’s success and growth over the trials and tribulations. But with one line about “fu**ing you is like DMT”, it’s clear we’re in for something less edifying.
While it’s not necessarily a problem covering the physical act of love, after all Marvin Gaye managed it very successfully, it feels a shame to waste interesting potential on dull sexual innuendos.
The Australian outfit also aren’t shy about dropping unedited F bombs in several songs, along with references to getting high. This doesn’t include the time they opt to bleep out “Sh*t during ‘Party Pill’.
Courting a little controversy or even just Swearing can sparingly be used to great effect to convey intense emotion or grab the listener. It doesn’t quite work for Cub Sport here though and comes off as gratuitous and at times attention seeking.
Vocally, the work of Nelson is enjoyable.
In showcasing his skill, the lead comes across as gentle, warm and tender. The opening ‘Unwinding Myself (Intro)’ and ‘Light II’ showcases the full extent of his talent.
Overall, this self-titled album is a solid continuation of the work on Bats. The vocals are excellent, and the LP is thematically interesting at times. Unfortunately, along album isn’t helped by a few lyrical bumps in the road.
Some of the writing flirts with cheesy, but it’s the ones that force edginess that begin to irritate.