Anyone who has ever had a broken heart knows there is a very specific pain that comes along with it. How one gets over this pain, however, is up to the discretion of the individuals involved. For instance, if you happen to be a member of the band SPORTS, you cure your love sickness by channeling your unrequited longing and emotional turmoil through a tight set of highly energetic, clever indie pop numbers. On their sophomore full-length album All of Something the five friends from Gambier, Ohio rip through ten mostly upbeat, thoughtful, and inspired tracks in just under twenty-three minutes.
The record’s first song “Stunted” starts with a swaying back and forth chord progression strummed on an electric guitar. Carmen Perry gently repeats, “I really hope we don’t lose” just before Benji Dossetter’s drums and James Karlin’s bass crash in, building quickly to an explosive climax with the entire band singing, “Are you the reason I’m stunted, you got what you wanted, we both got what we wanted.” This early brazen moment creates an immediate intimacy that boldly sets the bar high for the rest of the album. Fortunately, SPORTS do not disappoint.
The fun, quick, jangly “Saturday” with its boy/girl vocals and one-word chorus is next, and at just over one minute in length is over almost as soon as it begins. “Getting On in Spite of You” keeps the pace with galloping drums and Perry expertly harmonizing with fellow singer/guitarist Catherine Dwyer. “Reality TV” and “Town” are akin to the first few tracks in terms of tempo with Jack Washburn handling lead vocals on the latter. Whether by coincidence or design, the three members of SPORTS who share vocal duties throughout All of Something have a similar laid-back, somewhat lethargic style that creates a unique and compelling dichotomy when paired with the band’s peppy music.
The second half of the album opens with “Harder”, a song that lets up a bit on the accelerator in order for Carmen Perry’s voice to climb and break into upper octaves, adding an extremely effective, empathetic punch to lines like, “You’re making this harder on me.” The lovely, subtle guitar touches on “Get Bummed Out” and the self-deprecating, comical lyrics of “GDP” lead pleasantly into the pair of laundry-themed songs that conclude the record. The heartbreakingly beautiful ballad “Clean Socks” cleverly uses washed linen as a metaphor for a relationship that is falling apart while “The Washing Machine” promptly rebounds, ending All of Something with an enthusiastic, optimistic feeling.
SPORTS create a cathartic listening experience by combining what would ordinarily be considered disparate lyrical themes and musical styles, proving songs that deal with failing relationships, loneliness, and miscommunication don’t always have to be saddled with a melancholic soundtrack. If there is an overarching theme to All of Something, it is that getting over a broken heart is more fun with friends.