Though the title of this San Francisco trio’s debut album probably has absolutely nothing to do with the 1983 album of the same name by Huey Lewis and the News, it was still the first thing that struck me, mostly because of how diametrically opposite Weekend’s cover art is from Lewis’.
The Huey Lewis cover always made sense to me because the word “sports” brings to mind things like fun, enjoyment, camaraderie and, at the very least, drinking. Weekend’s cover on the other hand is at first glance a complete non-sequitur, dark and abstract. However, “sports”, thought about in a deeper way, can bring to mind tedious, tireless work, perfectionism, and an unquenchable desire to dominate others. Pretty dark and abstract indeed.
For the purposes of that dichotomy, Weekend succeeds astoundingly well in musically representing a polar-opposite to the way we as Americans generally view our entertainment, competitive sports included. Much of the music on this album is very plodding, with hints of the shoe gaze ethic of lengthy, droning, seemingly aimless instrumental suites.
Admittedly though, bands that adhere the lo-fi aesthetic found here can sometimes be a little slow off the blocks. Sports is no exception, as it is certainly not perfect. All too often Weekend stumbles into ambient territory, to the point of simply noodling with noise, effects pedals, vocal manipulation, and a whole host of other things I’m sure I’ll appreciate way more a few months from now. Nevertheless, at first impression there’s a lot of superfluousness here.
However, I’d be a fool if I told you that Weekend isn’t worth keeping tabs on. Although they haven’t delivered a perfect ten with Sports, songs like “Age Class” lead me to suspect they are much better and more complex as a band than they immediately let on. Furthermore, if you’re even a casual fan of noise rock, shoegaze, or the new wave of lo-fi, Sports could easily end up being one of your favorite albums of the year.