Album Review: Sports – Get A Good Look Pt.1

[Naked; 2021]

It cannot be denied that the world is riding a nostalgia-wave with increasing vigour, desperately looking for anything that reminds of ‘simpler times’. Artists have played a fundamental part in this, often acting as revivalists for genres that may not have as much prominence as they used to. Which makes bands such as Sports, who have returned with their first project in two years Get a Good Look Pt. 1, such a treasure. Consisting of members Cale Chronister and Christian Theriot, Sports incorporate multiple genres from classic rock to pop with an overall vibe of psychedelia to create a six-track set of groovy upbeat tunes. While lyrically the project delves into strained relationships, emotional distance and self-doubt, it never loses its penchant for fun.

Get a Good Look Pt.1 opens with the mysterious “Call Me Anytime”, which combines lurking electric guitar strums, bass guitar, muted organs and drums while keeping a consistent groove. While the lyrics are quite simplistic consisting mainly of the refrain “Call me / Call me / Call me / You can call me anytime,” the vaguely sensual vibe of the track gives it more gravity than one would assume. The track also manages to sound polished yet spontaneous, as if the band had recorded a jam session – especially towards the end where a symphony of differing guitar riffs add a sudden intensity.

Following track “The Look” is unapologetically funky and feel-good with the overall vibe of driving through a neon-lit street. Over exuberant guitar and synths, the band play the role of a guardian angel conveying the euphoria of being confident and happy which distracts from a darker reality. “Hey man, it’s time to leave / You don’t wanna waste your energy,” the band warns, before seguing into the affirmative chorus: “And don’t you know you’ve got the look? / You’re higher on top of my world.” The track is an automatic earworm and a glorious slice of pop for those who aren’t too cynical to enjoy it.

The mood changes with the highlight “Baby Baby” – a slow jam that is similar in vibe to Tame Impala’s “‘Cause I’m A Man” with its combination of psychedelic rock and R&B sensuousness. The song explores the clash between the inability to comfort somebody properly while also needing comfort yourself. “I guess I just don’t have the drive / I guess I just don’t have it,” Chronister admits over synths that flash in and out like sirens.  There’s an overall element of love – albeit one that’s slightly strained – as he sings “So tell me that you’ll be alright / And tell me that I’m what you need.” It’s a vulnerable track that still retains the sense of catchiness and groove that encompasses this project.

Building upon this inability to comfort people is “Never Know”, which combines synth, bass and another earworm chorus of “And I try, and I try, and I try.” Like the previous song, it discloses an emotional repression and unwillingness to open up that’s affecting the relationship’s trajectory: “You want it to come naturally / But I can’t find that side of me.” The frustration that Chronister feels towards himself is particularly dominant as he acknowledges that he goes “through hell sometimes” but still can’t express it.

High-pitched synths, bass and horns make an appearance on the mellow “Tell You Something” which explores self-doubt, but with a dash of optimism. Chronister directs his thoughts towards someone who “would be the perfect one to ask” about his struggle to communicate effectively. Although this might seem like it is continuing on with the themes already explored on this project, there is victory over such demons, which occurs after Chronister sings “How did I mess this up? / I could be going out of my mind / Try to just be myself / Try but I just couldn’t back it up.” When the bridge begins – a highlight of this track – the production is pared back and he vows “I’ll back it up now,” demonstrating a willingness to be more comfortable in himself.

Final track “Don’t Get Me Started”  is an assertive moment on the project which has the band directing frustration outward. With its prominence of keyboards, synths, bass and strings, Chronister warns “Don’t get me started with you / Take it how you want it / Say you’ve got somewhere to be.” It’s a bit more incendiary, a lot more pissed off and directed at people who are trying to take advantage of them. This is emphasised by lyrics such as “Handing me chocolate / Say ‘here’s my kind of guy’ / Said no I don’t want it,” swatting away any offers that may compromise themselves. It’s a nice, feisty ending to the project and makes listeners wonder what the second instalment will offer.

Sports’ Get a Good Look, Pt. 1 is a project that revitalises and combines genres, giving a colourful vibe to the drawbacks of second guessing yourself. While there is not much edge here, the project manages to be a consistently fun experience providing bops of varying degrees of sadness. Sometimes you just need to appreciate when kaleidoscopic pop makes an appearance on the playlist. We eagerly await to see what the second instalment of Get A Good Look brings.