Reviews Bad Sports Constant Stimulation

Bad Sports

Constant Stimulation

With Bad Sports, the songs are often about the hooks. The band utilizes traditional rock structures with song titles embedded in the chorus and predictable progressions. It’s largely about where they kick the extra energy into their songs that sets them apart, and it’s usually got a bit of swagger when they do kick.

“Gains and Losses” is a really good example of the style. It’s almost four minutes long and is relatively repetitive on the lyrical side of things, sticking with its rather blunt chorus. But it’s really about getting into that bass groove and then the way that the guitars move you when they build and pop in between rhythms. It’s subtle development and not something that’s really expected in a band that’s going to get that blanket garage-punk label slapped on it. It’s pop-structure but it takes you to surprising places.

And that’s a really nice transition to talking about the lyrics too. All throughout Constant Stimulation the band is aurally pleasing. It’s soft, with soothing harmonies and easy singalong choruses. As it pulls you in, you feel the vibe without really thinking. Then, you listen a little closer: Did this song just kick off with the line, “You’ve got me all revved up to kill/ And the fear in your eyes sends me straight to paradise”? “Ode to Power” is another great example. It’s calm pop-rock, with cooing harmonies atop dark lyrics like “Can’t beat the feeling of ultimate control...Assume your place/ Leave your conscience behind.”

Songs like “Giving In,” Don’t Deserve Love,” and “Easy Truth” showcase what the band has done so well throughout their discography: accessible rock with a bit of punch when it’s needed. But this record really expands to a new level, mixing the songwriting nuances and a deeper influence over the whole record. Sometimes it’s a saccharine harmony, or at times taking a tougher edge, as in “Easy Truth.” “Everything We Wanted” breathes a bit of dramatic balladry into the band’s soul, which they then turn a new direction in album closer “Distant Life,” which is something of a synth-pop song played set to punk rock energy.

Through the many influences and shifts along the way, the band maintains a familiar, comfortable tone that’s gradually building to powerful short bursts where the emotion turns from tongue-in-cheek to brutal honesty, if only for moments at a time. In an era of constant stimulation, Bad Sports are making you wait for it. And it’s appreciated.

7.5 / 10Loren
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Dirtnap

2018

7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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