CUB SPORT – ” Like Nirvana “

Posted: July 26, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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One of Australia’s best band’s Cub Sport have released their fourth album. Sitting at 13-tracks long, “Like Nirvana” is a beautiful and deeply honest trip through the mind of singer-songwriter-producer Tim Nelson. Navigating topics like gender, personal discovery and ultimately evolution, the alt-pop group from Brisbane the record which is a collection of soft, dreamy pop songs. Originally slated for a May release, Like Nirvana was pushed back due to the COVID pandemic, but the wait was worth it.

Tim Nelson tals about the group’s new LP, Like Nirvana”, is an uplifting release that doesn’t shy away from the shadows, “it embraces both the light and dark with warmth.”

In Confessions there’s a line ‘the truth is I’m looking for myself and I can’t see it in anybody’. And I couldn’t, but now I can. It sounds a little cliché but this album has helped me find and love myself more deeply. I listen to this album and I can see, hear, feel ‘me.’ It’s the gentle and powerful energy of the introvert empath who, for some reason, is drawn to the light, even though they’re scared of it sometimes and feel more at home in the shadows. It’s the acknowledgement of lingering trauma, an embracing of the journey, rather than a need to see and understand the destination.

The track Nirvana is kind of the title track. It embodies some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the last year. ‘Free myself from ego’s chains, free my body from my mind, leave the painful parts behind.’ It’s about learning my own worth outside of other peoples’ perception of me. In western society, we’re largely taught that our value is tied to the material things we have, how we appear to others, our career progress, what the world tells us about ourselves. I wanted to strip all of that away and form my own self not built by others. It’s by no means easy to do, but being aware of when your actions are motivated by ego/fear rather than love can be a strong guiding force.

In the second verse of 18 there’s a line ‘sorry, didn’t wanna make this sad, guess I wrote this all to try and heal from that, to let me feel all that’. I always wanted this album to be uplifting. I think in my mind I had this idea that to be uplifting it had to sound ‘happy’ but I couldn’t write any happy-sounding songs that I was excited about, but rather these cinematic, all-encompassing laments. I had to write this album as part of my healing process, I had to let myself feel everything and experience and live all of the emotions that were weighing on me. And I feel like that’s what has made Like Nirvana such an uplifting record in its completion; it doesn’t shy away from the shadows, it embraces both the light and dark with warmth and I hope it sets other people free in ways that it’s done for me.

The closing song on the album is Grand Canyon. I wrote this song for someone very dear to me. I wanted them to see them the way that I see them. ‘You’re a mountain, baby, Grand Canyon, you hold all the power if you believe it then you can, yeah. Too much of an angel to be held down, your battles, too much of an angel to be held down.’ It’s anthemic and soaring, pure power and warmth. It ended up becoming a reminder to me of my own power when I needed encouragement. I feel like this song was brought to me for the purpose of inspiring and empowering people who need it. And that goes beyond this song alone, I feel like that’s largely why Like Nirvana the album came to me.

Like Nirvana becomes a landmark moment in Australian pop, contextualising Nelson’s life and art on a universal scale. “Forget the limits that we learned / The light is coming, it’s our turn / You’re a mountain baby, Grand Canyon / You hold all the power,” Nelson sings on Grand Canyon, joined by bandmates united as a choir.

“It really feels heavenly,” Nelson says. “That’s kind of what making this album has felt like for me: finding a more peaceful place; getting to know myself better; acknowledging my whole self, even the parts that are hard to acknowledge sometimes.”

Nelson’s emotional purge continues on ‘My Dear (Can I Tell You My Greatest Fear)’, where his voice and soul are laid bare over spectral guitar fuzz and feather-light instrumentation. ‘I Feel Like I Am Changin’’picks up where ‘Sometimes’ left off on ‘Cub Sport’, with Nelson, back in Brisbane after a period of relentless touring, experiencing a newfound appreciation for home. ‘Be Your Man’ is an ’80s power ballad complete with dramatic Phil Collins-style drums while ‘Be Your Angel’ pays homage to Savage Garden’s ‘Truly Madly Deeply’. Like Nirvana” is an emotional voyage of self-discovery that celebrates the joys of life. This album captures some of Tim Nelson’s most vulnerable moments. Elegantly understated and, for the most part, supremely chill, Cub Sport have stripped back the synth-pop hooks to create mellow clouds of sound intended to provide a little comfort and succour.

Four albums in. It’s evident in their staggering creative, aesthetic, and personal evolution, particularly over the past couple of years. Described by Nelson as more of a holistic release from Cub Sport in contrast to their largely linearearly records, This is a glistening, tightly-woven exploration of religious reckoning, oppressive structures of masculinity, and feelings of inadequacy. Dovetailing with a shift in Nelson’s gender expression they now identify as ‘free’, and use both neutral and male pronouns the record is impressionistic and abstract, pushing aside the brightly coloured realism of 2019’s self-titled record in favour of gauzy lucid dreams. Nelson’s embrace of raw emotion has pushed them and their bandmates, to create a record more fiercely emotive than ever.
Band Members
Tim Nelson, Zoe Davis , Sam Netterfield and Dan Puusaari

Cub Sport’s fourth album Like Nirvana, out July 24th

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