Cub Sport Records/Believe (label)
04 August 2020 (released)
04 August 2020
Nirvana: a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.
Opening with the hushed declaration and exclamation of ‘I love you … I’d die for you …’ is certainly one way to set a scene (and crucially ‘be seen’). These are the sounds of suppressed ghosts being set free, unleashed upon and cast out in a new guise.
Fourth album by Australian fourtet Cub Sport ‘Like Nirvana’ is an aural testament to coming out. In 2017 lead singer Tim Nelson finally broke free from the shadows of fear to become blissfully happy in the skin he’s in. He’s overcome the struggle for identity and triumphed in the battle for acceptance in the face of self-loathing and a dogmatic structured system of assigned roles and expectations.
Shifting from the vulnerable vexations of ‘Driving’ to themes of barely existing inside and/or outside not knowing which way to turn (‘My Dear (can I tell you my greatest fears’)) and the trapped trauma of feeling befuddled between stages (‘I feel like I am changin’) this is an album about metamorphosis and the courage to take a gamble. Something ventured, everything gained.
The confines, deadlines and guidelines of organised religion feature prominently: ‘Confessions’ is a vocoded tell-all, a soul baring exorcism of past perceptions and the admittance of incoming irruptions that signal change and redemption from the sins of the forefathers. The closing ‘Grand Canyon’ is a Prince-like gospel that breaks the spell of the ‘limits that we learned, the light is coming, it’s our turn’. An illuminated rumination on being ‘free’ to see and be.
‘Best Friend’ echoes Erasure’s Europop electro-explorations, composing a pulse-racing love letter that tracks the high-fidelity heartbeating of unrequited affections. ‘Oh, L’amour’ indeed.
In contrast with the papier-mâché postulations of the gurning-yearning Sam Smiths, this is a captivating album that lauds emancipatory acts of truth and applauds the escape from the shackles of ‘ego’s chain’.
Like Nirvana, Cub Sport deliver an album that puts the listener in an idyllic state or place, atmospheric and cathartic.