Cub Sport – Like Nirvana
You could say 2019 was the year for Cub Sport. Their third album went to number one in their native Australia and charted globally on iTunes, their headline show at Scala sold out, and single Come On Mess Me Up went platinum and was voted in the hottest 100 of the decade – not bad for a band whose first album only came out four years ago.
They were originally named Tim Nelson and the Cub Scouts, and Nelson is the brains behind the intensely personal and candid lyrics. The band’s second album Bats saw Nelson come out as gay after struggling for many years with what he describes as internalised homophobia, as well as declaring his long-term love for bandmate Sam Netterfield. The pair are now happily married, and this transition to contentment is clear in Like Nirvana.
The album is a triumphant journey. It begins with an intro in which Nelson simply states: “I love you, I’d die for you” over and over again over chiming piano chords. Nelson’s slightly washed-out vocals make it ambiguous as to who he is addressing – is it Netterfield, the audience, or perhaps himself? As we move through the album, the lyrics cover relationships, religion, friendships, desire, the struggles of masculinity and not belonging, and feelings of inadequacy – the challenges and passions of existence. Deep and abstract, Like Nirvana is a glimpse into Nelson’s soul in a way that makes you feel both deeply empathetic and empowered.
At times dark and melancholic and at others jubilant, the lyrics are juxtaposed with a backdrop of pianos and synths mashed together to create a dreamlike quality. Standout single Drive was described by Nelson as a pure love song that soundtracks that moment when you feel “You’re a dream and I still can’t believe you give a damn about me”. Its wild, carefree and expansive nature perfectly captures the feeling of first being in love. But Like Nirvana goes deeper than personal love – it’s an album for this generation. A celebration of what makes us unique and different, it also provides a level on which everyone can connect with their humanity. As you move from song to song you can’t help but feel embraced by the immersive sound and vulnerability of Nelson’s voice. 2019 may have held good things for Cub Sport, but it seems like 2020 might be even more promising.
Photo: Buster Parks
Like Nirvana is released on 24th July 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Cub Sport’s website here.
Watch the video for Drive here: