Audio Mixer: John Castle.
Recording information: Fagan (Home), Brisbane; The Shed, Melbourne.
Photographers: Colin Nelson ; Nat Lanyon.
The debut LP from Australia's Cub Sport brims with youthful spirit and catchy melodies. After a pair of EPs, Cub Sport matured -- both in lyrics and songcraft -- on This Is Our Vice. With more electronic flourishes and a funkier vibe than their past efforts, the album shimmers, injecting tropical dance elements into its indie rock backbone. Produced by John Castle (Megan Washington, Vance Joy), This Is Our Vice opens and closes with a glimmer, a brightness borne of their sunny hometown, Brisbane. On the upbeat tracks, like standouts "I Can't Save You" and "I'm on Fire," the band sound like the young melding of the soothing harmonies and driving synths of Haim and the Killers. The plaintive moments hypnotize and lull like Troye Sivan. The precious vocal interplay between frontman Tim Nelson and bassist Zoe Davis -- on tracks like "Runner," "Only Friend," and "Come on Mess Me Up" -- are angelic, channeling both romance and longing. These songs considered, This Is Our Vice would be an ample inclusion to the indie synth-pop pantheon. However, a pair of tracks toward the end of the album elevate this debut -- the funky New Wave-inspired gems "I Don't Love My Baby" and "I Feel Bad Now" -- hinting at a bigger and more ambitious sound. Cub Sport offer enough variation throughout This Is Our Vice to make it a promising opening statement. ~ Neil Z. Yeung