Reviews Dan Padilla Sports Fans

Dan Padilla

Sports Fans

Considering the amount of time it took for Dan Padilla to drop their second full-length, last year’s As the Ox Plows, it’s surprising they’re back already with another full-length in Sports Fans. The DIY San Diego, CA band hasn’t changed up their sound much here, offering a similar blend of pop-punk, gruff vocals, and a strong bent of work-sucks-let’s-get-drunk themes. It’s singalong at its best, a modern punk’s version of a traditional drinking song, replacing the barroom antics with a general focus on a weary worldview.

The band, fronted by J. Wang (Tiltwheel), shows a stronger sense of identity with each release. While their sound hasn’t changed a whole lot since the early days, the songwriting grows more confident and the steadily-improving recording quality plays to its strength as loud, singalong punk. It’s power chord based, but with nice melodies mixed within that subtly give a linear development. Wang’s voice is the powerful force on this record, sing-shouting his messages with conviction that feels both earnest and urgent, and it’s best played loud. While I stated earlier that it’s a record of reflecting on the crap in one’s life, it’s also a call to arms to improve that lot. The topical shifts between the whoa-oh “Get Simple” and the confrontational “Right Now” that follows is a powerful change of position that symbolizes how Sports Fans rounds out its multiple voices and emotions—after all, life is a complex bag and people run the gamut over the course of a day.

While “Bar Stool Forgetting” and “Burning on the Inside” are a couple of the highlights at what Dan Padilla does best, they also mix up tempos well. “Green Flash” takes a near-ballad approach, calmly singing about sitting on the beach and relaxing versus being stressed out from the day-to-day; “Best of Us” slows it down less successfully; and “Geronimo” is a big, big finish that builds up energy until a giant “Surfin’ Bird”-styled chorus closes the set. “So Long” is a favorite, with a slower verse structure that builds at the chorus while its lyrics take an introspective tone that fits band’s style perfectly: blending the personal with the cathartic, exemplified by the “fuck you and goodbye” midway through, where the energy takes on a more aggressive approach as the song closes out.

The record is a constant, positive vibe and even when the lyrics take a downer vibe it feels more venting than cynical. “Get this off my chest,” Wang reflects in “Bar Stool Forgetting,” as the band sings along, letting go of a hard day and finding the positive energy that keeps them going.

8.0 / 10Loren
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