Words by Emily Hollitt | Emily Hollitt Content Writer
Cub Sport have been a staple of the music industry since they released their first full length album ‘This Is Our Vice’ in 2016. Come On Mess Me Up still has such a chokehold on the country, remaining one of the greatest tracks to come out of an Australian band over the last decade. From their indie pop beginnings, their sound has grown as the band have leant in more to their identity, experimenting wider with not only their pop production, but also how they express themselves through music. Vocalist Tim Nelson in particular shares his journey with self-acceptance. In more recent years, he’s done this through a slew of love songs written for husband and bandmate Sam Netterfield. Exploring his relationship with God and religions view on homosexuality through tracks like O Lord through to the entirely experimental and vulnerable tracks like Confessions, the band are one of the most interesting groups around to date.
Today, the inspirational group released their fifth studio album ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’, aptly released on Good Friday. The record marks a new point for the group, and for Nelson’s widely documented journey. ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ is entirely hopeful and uplifting, even more so than their last release ‘LIKE NIRVANA’. It plays like the closing chapter to the messages of self-discovery shared throughout their last 4 albums; these notions are transformed into songs about full blown self-love and gratitude for the world around you, a full circle moment for anyone following along over the years. It’s hard to imagine a fully danceable pop album could hold the weight of what feels like the happy ending to such an emotional story, but it’s done in a way only a group like Cub Sport could pull off.
Always Got The Love opens with Tim Nelson’s soothing vocals accompanied by smooth, airy piano chords. Quickly, the beat comes in, building up with synths and heavy bass in the second chorus. The song does excellently at captivating the listener’s attention right from the get-go, a brilliant introduction to a brilliant album. With lines like “I lied when I said I couldn’t love you any more” and “If you’re not there, I’m leaving too. I don’t need them, I just need you,” the song serves as a high-energy accumulation of all the best parts of being deep in love. “I miss it, but I don’t want it back. It’s just a feeling. Remember, you taught me that?” sings Nelson throughout second track Replay. Continuing the high-energy of the opening track, this song tells the story of finding peace after losing a connection with somebody. “Look at me now, I’m all the things you could never see in me. But I still think about you, wherever you are, I just hope you’re free.” He repeats. Whether you’ve lost a romantic relationship or a close friendship, let Replay help you groove through those complicated, conflicting emotions.
A softer side of Nelson’s vocals are showcased in third track High For The Summer. Although the underlying beat is still quick, the overall tone of the track is mellow. The group play with vocal manipulation, aiding to the unique texture of the track’s overall sound. “Went and got a girlfriend, just to throw them off track” sings Nelson in the opening verse of Keep Me Safe. “Now, with you around, my heart, forever found” repeats Nelson’s heavily reverberated, almost angelic, vocals in each chorus. “Broke up with my girlfriend, guess I’m getting off track”. He sings, relating back to the first chorus. “Losing everybody, but I don’t really feel that sad” he sings, acknowledging how each loss aided his self-growth to the much happier and more fulfilled person he is today.
“The first time that I saw your face. It felt like a scene from a movie. Coming of age” opens Tim in Zoom. “Someone said to me, push down the feeling baby. That didn’t feel amazing”, he continues, furthering the notion of how much better his life became when he learnt to embrace and accept his own sexuality and find love without shame. The song is slower than most previous tracks on the album so far, a classic Cub Sport ballad. “I could tell that I love you, I could kiss you in a park” he sings midway through the bridge, excitedly proclaiming how proudly he wants to share his love. “I’m planning our whole lives.” Songs About It further explores the idea of being fully wrapped up in the person you love. “Blow off all my friends, because I don’t want this to end… Getting lost in you baby, I don’t want to be found”. The song just sounds happy, another ode to embracing happy, healthy love. “I write songs about it, and they’re all about you”.
A synth with a likeness to a church organ opens Beg U, playing chords similar to those heard in a hymn. This spiritual sound is juxtaposed by a high-intensity beat, representing the nervousness you feel around the person you’re invested in against the all-encompassing spiritual feeling of loving someone wholly. “I’m going through something new.” Hold brings the energy up again. “Baby, it’s hurting. Won’t you lay it on me. I already see it on your face,” repeats Nelson in each chorus. The sad lyrics work nicely against the fast-paced instrumental, creating yet another slice of pop perfection.
Much like their last few projects, ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ wouldn’t be complete without a Mallrat collab. Grace Shaw’s voice compliments Nelson’s beautifully in Yaya. “You told me secrets that I didn’t want. It’s a scary letter in a pretty font. And I ride through keeping nonchalant. And we’re closer now like I always wanted”. “I’ll always love you” repeats Shaw’s voice as the track fades out. “I know that you’ve been down. Feels like you don’t believe in ya. On the shower floor now. I can see the magic in ya” repeats in closing track Magic In U. The track plays out like a positive mantra to play on a hard day, growing in its production, shrouded with an overall feeling of positivity. It’s a wonderfully uplifting way to end the feel-good record.
Cub Sport have yet again managed to perfectly pair experimental production with soul touching storytelling to produce a compelling record that will be a comfort to so many who have felt the same way. From the texturally captivating, filtered drums scattered throughout to the angelic layered vocals, the album is not only a masterpiece based on its subject matter, but sonically too. If you’ve got some time spare today, do yourself a favour and give ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ a listen.
‘JESUS AT THE GAY BAR’ IS OUT NOW
CUB SPORT AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
SUPPORTED BY TRIPLE J
TICKET INFO HERE
Friday, August 18 – Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide SA
Saturday, August 19 – Astor Theatre, Perth WA
Thursday, August 24 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW
Thursday, August 31 – Tanks, Cairns QLD
Saturday, September 2 – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane QLD
Friday, September 8 – Forum, Melbourne VIC
Tickets are on sale now.