Written by Joel Funk
In a world full of emo bands with one word names and strange punctuation, only one has made me question an opening sentence for more than ten minutes. That band is Sports. I love Sports., and that’s not something that I ever thought I’d see myself writing. That has nothing to do with the band, as I was only recently introduced to their music. It has more to do with the activity. I’m fairly sure that sports and I have a mutual disdain for each other that I can’t see being alleviated any time soon. For the sake of differentiation and saving myself the explanation, I am thankful that band names warrant a capital letter.
Sports. isn’t doing anything that’s going to reinvent the wheel or turn emo on it’s head, but that doesn’t mean that what they’re doing isn’t worthy of your attention. ‘Demon Daze’ is the debut album from this Boston based three-piece. They’ve spent the last year and a half putting out a pretty consistent stream of music. 2014 saw the band release their first EP, ‘We’ll Get To It Eventually’ in March and a split EP with When All We Love Is Lost that following September. When you think about how frequently Sports. has been releasing music, it really adds some weight to the first lyric of the record, which reads “This past year’s burned a hole in my head/I can’t keep my eyes open.”
That line comes from the song “I Love to be Chill.” It makes perfect sense to have this be the song to kick things off. If not for the opening lyric being a perfect summary of the last year of their lives, then because the song is a high energy look into what ‘Demon Daze’ is going to sound like. “I Love To Be Chill” shines in the chorus of the song, where the shouty vocals only help to drive home the lines “For now/I guess I could remain at rest/Turn my senses off for months on end./I’ll never step a foot or an inch outside of my bedroom ever again.” It looks wordy on paper, but I promise that after one listen, it’s going to bouncing back and forth between the walls of your skull.
I’ll be honest when I tell you that the shouty vocals took me by surprise. Earlier, I said that I had only recently been introduced to Sports., and I meant that very literally. The first Sports. song I heard was also the first and only song released from ‘Demon Daze’ as a single, “Words That Rhyme with Different, etc.” This song starts out with twangy guitar and a softly sung first verse before exploding into a shouty and simultaneous plea and self-criticism for validation. I love it, I loved it. This is the song that made me want to write about ‘Demon Daze’ and well, here we are.
As much as I love that song, I don’t know that there’s a better track on this album than “I Am The Boy.” That opening riff is something else altogether, and the fact that the lyrics play off lyrics from “I Love To Be Chill” is an added bonus. The lyrics on this LP talk about living with depression more often than not, and I think it’s that pointblank honesty that keeps me coming back to it. There are lyrics like “So could you pull me up, because I feel like I hit the deep end. But I’m “okay”, if that’s what you want me to tell you. I know, I’m sorry. I let this go to waste, I fucking ruin everything. I know, I’m sorry, but I’m sorry doesn’t mean anything” that are certainly gut wrenching, but they add something to the music.
The only other song that holds a candle to “I Am The Boy” is “Steven Believin’.” It’s just a non-stop belter of catharsis, and I love every second of it. They waste no time getting into the thick of things, immediately shouting “I’m waiting for anyone I know to call me. I’m blissfully sinking. I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you to call. ‘Yeah I’ll call, I’ll call’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘I swear to god I’ll call.’” It’s desperate and it’s emotional and it just feels good to sing along too. It’s everything you could possibly want in a convenient two-and-a-half minute long package.
‘Demon Daze’ is a release that has cemented Sports. as a band that I’m going to keep an eye on. Their lyrics are desperate and emotional, but maintain a staggering pop sensibility. If this is what Sports. is capable of on a debut, I can’t wait to see what a few years of experience is going to do for their sound. 4/5