Thursday, December 27, 2018

Album Review: Bad Sports - Constant Stimulation

Bad Sports
Constant Stimulation
** out of *****

The Texas trio Bad Sports fourth full length album on Dirtnap records is a more restrained version of their punky rock and roll sound, and that isn't an improvement. Constant Stimulation finds Orville Neeley (guitars / vocals), Daniel Fried (bass / vocals) and Gregory Rutherford (drums) in a more reflective mood dealing with relationship malaise and a sense of isolation around the noise.

Opener "Giving In" kicks things off and is the albums high point with it's grooving bass line and clanging guitars and powerful drumming; the group never tops the feeling of the giving up and giving in. Bad Sports then move into more power pop territory, with splashes of Morrissey for the remainder of the album. The straight ahead bar rocking of "Don't Deserve Love" beats the title phrase into the ground just to ram the obsessive/obvious point home before "All Revved Up to Kill" plays like a Cheap Trick outtake with a slightly harder edge.

Lyrically there is a sense of aloofness like on "Comes Close" which discusses just missed love while the warbling distorted riffs on the ballad "Everything We Wanted" feels woah-is-me self pity before the albums longest tracks all arraigned as Constant Stimulation's centerpiece.

"Gains and Losses", "Ode To Power" and the title track all run around 4 minutes. "Gains and Losses" shines an unflattering light on growing up dealing with debt and paying rent, "Ode To Power" is a dreamy oh/ah backing vocal urge to just veg out while the title track is the best of the bunch with breaks and motoring drums/riffs but can't fully break out of it's morose shackles.

"Easy Truth" inserts some acoustic guitar work to shake things up a bit with snarling singing and "Cardboard Suits" pushes a strong bass forward around scratching guitars and an early 80's pop sense of doom but the punk/power pop Bad Sports seem to be going through a questioning time in their career and things never explode or dig their claws in during their Constant Stimulation
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