Top Ten Albums of 2020 - 7. Sports Team - Deep Down Happy

04/01/2021

Counting down our favourite articles of 2020. This week the Mercury Prize nominated Deep Down Happy by alt rock outfit Sports Team

https://www.discogs.com/Sports-Team-Deep-Down-Happy/release/15432427#images/47001440
https://www.discogs.com/Sports-Team-Deep-Down-Happy/release/15432427#images/47001440

Coming together whilst studying at the University of Cambridge, Sports Team, formed in 2016, released their debut album Deep Down Happy in summer 2020 to much acclaim.


Yet with the roots of the band seemingly placed in middle to upper class lifestyle, Sports Team have attracted somewhat unwanted attention in relation to their backgrounds.


With certain reviews stating the band have been "unable to shake their entitlement", Sports Team have been, perhaps unfairly, characterised by their elite education.


However, this didn't seem to get in the way of the success of their debut release. When Deep Down Happy was released in July, the band quickly found themselves in a battle with American pop superstar Lady Gaga for top spot on the U.K album charts.


Although not for the want of trying, the band did at one point make digital copies of the album available for 99p in an attempt to become the first group in four years to chart at number one with their debut release, unfortunately the band settled for second.

https://www.discogs.com/artist/6362227-Sports-Team#images/33243039
https://www.discogs.com/artist/6362227-Sports-Team#images/33243039


Opening track 'Lander' offers an immediate insight into the tone of the album, as listeners scramble to turn down their device out of shock. The jumpy start is followed by guitarist Rob Knaggs taking over the vocal reigns from Alex Rice and delivering a stream of consciousness lyricism that references fox hunting and Wetherspoons.


Tracks like Here's The Thing offer a scrutinous social commentary with lines like "you cannot trust a man who wears a suit and tie". Likewise, The Races offers discontent to the type of person that will "never by a drink, but he'll let you know he can".


Whilst the album is packed to the brim with passion and aggression, Long Hot Summer, fifth track on the record, offers a brief interlude to the action with a slower track that underpins feelings of loneliness.


Deep Down Happy is a fully rounded debut album. Whilst the band have been criticised in the past for brandishing their apparent privileged backgrounds, this is a record that plays so superbly on this that the band have turned it into their biggest strength.


Their lyricism manages to both romanticise and criticise the monotony of modern-day everyday life, that topics become relatable and deliver a vivid picture in the mind of the listener.


Sports Team's debut album deservedly received praise from both critics, fans, and their musical peers, with the likes of Lewis Capaldi and The Wombats backing the band.


Keep up with Sports Team via their Twitter and Instagram and find their website here.


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