For their sophomore album Cub Sport have taken a massive risk. They broke though the over saturated alternative-pop market with their impressive debut album, charted on the Triple J Hottest 100 as well as toured with the likes of The 1975 and Big Scary. The Brisbane four piece could have just re-created this vibe but instead they have reinvented their sound and have delivered a raw vulnerability. “Bats” is an emotional record that sees lead vocalist Tim Nelson exploring the different stages of coming to terms with his sexuality. From the first realisation to accepting who he is to coming out and then to falling in love. It’s a reflective empowering and comforting recount that is going to resonate well with anyone who has been through or is currently going through similar feelings. Opening track “Chasin” delivers dreamy and nostalgic synths while a raw sense of urgency comes through his vocals. For the first time he confesses his love for his best friend and fellow band mate Sam Netterfield. “I don’t even know what I want out of life, what Im chasin’. Is it hard to see me gone cause I miss you when I’m gone. Is it worth feeling alone for so long?”. It’s an emotional and catchy track that sets the mood for the entire record. “Good Guys Go” follows it up with one of the strongest hooks and a song that will quickly become a favourite in their live set. It has a heavier electronic influence with the synths adding a different texture to their already dreamy sound. “O Lord” is the glorious coming out track that channel’s 90s Savage Garden and adds an uplifting gospel element to the hook. It really is the true centrepiece of this record because it incorporates all the major emotions and showcases a vulnerability where he is just asking for acceptance. They offer a similar production style on “Let U Be” before giving a doo-woop feel on “Look After Me”. Stripping it back on “Hawaiian Party” and “Give It To Me” they give you light guitars and minimalistic production. But it’s the vulnerable “Solo III” that stands out the most where Nelson emotionally questions “What did I do, do I deserve you” about finding his soulmate. Channeling a more upbeat sound they layer 90’s influenced synths and beats on the groovy title track “Bats” while the electronic driven “Temporarily” is reminiscent to Years & Years’ signature sound.
They have always been quite emotional and honest in their songwriting but this record has really tapped into a unique vulnerability. The best way to explain it is that it’s just like reading out of someone’s diary. It’s unfiltered, raw and real. The production is less polished compared to their debut and hears Nelson experimenting with different vocal techniques and production effects. It’s a collection of songs that is going to make an important impact on a lot of peoples lives and that’s the most powerful thing about music. This may be their unique story but its going to relate to so many people who are currently confused or lost in their lives or may be falling in love for the first time. They will have you reflecting on your life and feeling all the emotions while still grooving and having some catchy hooks stuck in your head.
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