By Maddie Farr ’18
I (like many Kenyon students) have been a big fan of SPORTS for a while. I fell first for their debut album Sunchokes, which still perfectly recalls the fidgety anxiety and promise of freshman year. Seeing them perform live was always an experience, a sweaty room of bouncing kids singing every line back to the band. It’s not an overstatement to say that this album soundtracked my first year at Kenyon.
A lot has changed since then. Four of the five of SPORTS’ members have now graduated–Catherine Dwyer ’14, Carmen Perry ’15, James Karlin ’15, and Benji Dossetter ’15–leaving Jack Washburn ’16 still at Kenyon. But before they scattered, SPORTS recorded a sophomore album — this time in Philadelphia, with rising producer Kyle Girlbride. The result is the rousing 20-minute All of Something, which proves that both everything and nothing has actually changed.
All of Something follows the same well-loved pop-punk pattern established by Sunchokes, with a tinge of something more grown-up. Sunchokes is chaotic, nostalgic, grasping; All of Something is coming to terms with growing up, changing relationships, and lackluster dreams. As Perry sings in the opening track “Stunted”: “So this is where everything leads…” With this album, SPORTS is looking around at where they’ve been led, and trying to figure out what to do with it.
All of Something is just as catchy as its successor, too — perhaps even more so. Tracks like “Saturday” and “Reality TV” feel truly pop-y in a really fun, kind of unexplored way. Like Sunchokes, this album easily elicits strong feelings in the listener, if those be feelings of empathy, understanding, sadness, or pure joy. For me, listening to SPORTS has always been a joyful experience–I can’t really listen to them sitting down. Their ecstatic or tragic melodies instantly affect me in a way I can’t explain, but treasure.
The songwriting on All of Something is, as always, incredibly sharp and relatable. I am always struck by the brutal and beautiful honestly of Perry’s lyrics, which are both cutting and desperately comforting. This album explores intimacy in a changing landscape of emotions and circumstances, not with any sense of finality but of togetherness–which makes sense, as SPORTS’ bandcamp bio reads: “SPORTS is friends FIRST, band SECOND.” No matter the future of SPORTS, it seems clear that this message will always be true.
Tracks to check out:
“Get Bummed Out”
“The Washing Machine”
“Getting on in Spite of You”