Album Review: Cub Sport (2019, LP)

Cub Sport by Cub Sport (Album Cover).jpg

Cub Sport by Cub Sport

Contrary to popular belief, Cub Sport by Cub Sport is not a fragrance but boy if you could wear it, you would be at least double-dosing. The third studio album from this four-piece Brisbane band takes them to a new strength, solidifying their reputation of colossal sound evolution in each body of work they release.

Cub Sport’s previous album, BATS, explored frontman Tim Nelson’s coming-to-terms with his identity and admitting his love for fellow band member Sam Netterfield. In contrast, Cub Sport by Cub Sport offers a pop-synth collection detailing the next chapter of living as his true self.

The most impressive element of the work is the vulnerability Tim finds in what could easily have been flippant electronic tracks. His lyrics are deeply personal, like they’ve been ripped from a page in his sixteen-year-old diary. And rightfully so – since releasing BATS, the lead singer has had an epic year of personal growth to draw upon, including marrying Sam in mid-2018.

The first track on the record is ‘Unwinding Myself’ – a whole two minutes 42 seconds of the angelic Tim Nelson acapella that fans can swoon over. The song opens with: “I am tapping into something / I am finally feeling something / I am not denying myself anymore / I can finally feel the things that I’d avoid.” These lines of self-acceptance continue into a full acknowledgement to the ongoing journey of self-discovery, breaking down guilt and building from life lessons that have held Tim back in the past. It’s a low-key anthem that will have a few welling up even on the seventh listen.

Brisbane music royalty unite in ‘Video ft. Mallrat’, creating a bit of a bop celebration of focusing on the good things going on. It’s one of their more uplifting sounds on the album, however the lyrics in Mallrat’s verse are a let down to the overall tune. She sings: “My hair was really long and / My faith was really strong and / That night before I went to sleep / My prayer was really long.” The lyrics are seemingly thoughtless (long and long don’t rhyme!) and the rhythm of the verse itself is standard. It’s almost a disservice to this track as much as I understand how her sound would meld well with Cub Sport.

The most pivotal song in the album is ‘Party Pill’, an expansion of Cub Sport’s 2016 single ‘Come On Mess Me Up’. According to Tim, this track spills “the full story” of his relationship with Sam when the two fell in love at the closeted age of 17 and chose to be just friends. The tender song delves into their young love, including a nod to Brisbane’s Stafford Rd as Tim receives a message from Sam telling him he thinks he likes him. The lyrics are touching, and I’d recommend lying down and closing your eyes to listen to this journey.

However, my favourite track and the first single released is ‘Sometimes’. It’s dichotomous: an upbeat tune talking about Tim’s public vulnerability and being overwhelmed by the positive reception of BATS whilst trying not to burn himself out. It follows his tumultuous ride of success with “Even the highs feel like lows,” through to how this opportunity has made him grow. It’s definitely the strongest track on the album that will have you in a karaoke session in no time.

Cub Sport by Cub Sport can easily become the soundtrack to Summer 2019. It’s melancholic warm and the perfect listen lying on the beach. But more importantly, this album is more than just music. Tim Nelson gifts fans with a message of empathy and self-love that goes beyond listening and deep seeds itself into a mantra, helping to heal the souls it touches.

This article was originally published in the AU review.