It’s often said (by me) that the road to hell is paved with ‘indie’ bands. However, occasionally a group comes along that reminds me that the UK alternative rock scene isn’t dead, it’s just in a Bastille-induced coma. Never have I been more reminded of this than when I came across the Cambridge-based six-piece Sports Team.
With the release of their debut EP Winter Nets last year, the band introduced the world to a new breed of guitar-driven rock with a distinctive pop-culture tinged lyrical dexterity. This was backed up with two singles, ‘Margate’, a fast-paced upbeat ode to the popular British holiday destination, and ‘Kutcher’, which inexplicably uses the former Punk’d host as a bizarre relationship metaphor. Both releases started to draw whispers about their potential and this, coupled with their energetic live shows, earned the sextet a much coveted spot on NME’s 100 Essential New Artists For 2019 and a place in DIY magazine’s Class of 2019.
These tips have proved to be correct as the release of their new single ‘M5’ in late January has cemented their status as the band to watch in 2019. The song has enabled them to find a uniquely British niche and is dripping with retro Britpop-influence. It channels the Middle England angst and wit of Blur and invokes memories of both ‘Country House’ and ‘Parklife’. The track has already received the backing of Radio 1’s Annie Mac as her ‘Track of The Week’ and the accompanying video, which features the group against a hilariously badly green screened motorway, is well worth a watch.
After their single’s success, there are many reasons to be excited for the future of Sports Team. Starting with their upcoming UK tour, which includes an appearance at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, as well as their hotly anticipated second EP Keep Walking! which is due in early March.
Of course, there will be people who, like me, may have lost faith in this genre, but I can assure you that the fightback is very much on – and Sports Team will be one of the first over the top.