Album Review: Cub Sport’s ‘This is Our Vice’

Cub Sport completely bring it with their much anticipated debut album, “This is Our Vice’. Recorded in Melbourne and mixed by Australian producer John Castle, the 5-piece from Brisbane treat their fans to a more polished offering of their previous sound. Fans of the “Told You So” and “Paradise” EP’s can be assured of the characteristic keyboard riffs, pop-synths and quality production we have come to expect from the band. Yet these certainties aside, ‘This is Our Vice’ boasts a lyrical authenticity that will undoubtedly strike a chord with its audience.

As Cub Sport come of age with their rapidly maturing sound we are reminded of what it’s like to be young, boundless and terrified; sometimes exclusively, but mostly all at once. The opening lyric ‘We’re gonna go where it is warm’ (from the track ‘Sun’), is a surprisingly accurate signpost for an album that deals with the all-too relatable pain of growing up. Complementarily, the hypnotising pop-synths of this track provide a sonic indication of what to expect going forward. Using this as it’s foundation, ‘This is Our Vice’ takes us to a place that is acutely familiar; that sun spattered spot between childhood and adulthood where relationships harbour intensity and fragility in similarly dangerous amounts.

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It’s easy to forget that it was only in 2013 that the group were legally forced to change their name from Cub Scouts by none other than the buzz kills at Scouts Australia. Not the friendliest of welcomes to commercial music, the band quickly learned of the sacrifices one must make when pursuing music as a career. The album’s fourth track, ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ is resolute in its willingness to roll with the punches, with lead vocalist Tim Nelson describing it as his own ‘desperate love ballad with music’. This is one of the more overtly personal tracks on the album and is my personal favourite. Highlighting the strength of Nelson’s falsetto, this song has a dream-pop vibe in the most refreshing way. It is dogged, piercing and a must-see landmark of ‘This is Our Vice’.

Endearingly, portions of the vocals on the album were recorded in Nelson’s bedroom using an Apple headset mic. Among the home-grown produce is the album’s first single release ‘Only Friend’ in which all of the vocals are first-take bedroom recordings. You would be forgiven for thinking that this song had a vigorous production process, as musically it is abound with punchy hooks and well-crafted harmonies. As a result, the track is uninhibited in its musings on a seemingly destructive relationship ‘I feel like throwing up just thinking ‘bout her’.

Perceptive, introspective and eerily captivating, ‘This is Our Vice’ was well worth the wait for what should be a very successful album.

‘This Is Our Vice’ from Cub Sport, out now on iTunes

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