England will always be England. Two thousand years from now, when the name of Jordan Pickford has been secluded to mythology, a queue round the block will signal the arrival of Wetherspoons curry club, an inexhaustible trans-millennial force of nationhood.
It’s this mischievous, subversive grasp of the ordinary that makes Sports Team so special; a six-strong grouping based outside London’s North West environs, they tap into the Carling-fuelled vein of England’s curious introversion.
“It felt like the summer for it,” frontman Alex Rice tells Clash. “Our World Cup run perfectly stopped short in the Semi Finals, the heatwave, packed out pub gardens... It’s how I imagine Britpop was, but with a hint of tragedy to it as well. There’s a real romanticism to it, and fringes of it came out this summer.”
“People are eventually going to delve back into what it means to be suburban, what it means to have a rose garden, overgrown hedgerows, terraced houses, Britain In Bloom roundabouts. It’s so much a part of the aesthetic which is so little talked about.”
Musically, Sports Team tap into that lucid, urbane, witty English art school tradition dominated by figures like Jarvis Cocker; truth be told, though, they’d rather have a mug of watered down lager and argue about John Betjeman’s poetry. “It’s weird,” he shrugs. “There are six of us in the band and if you spoke to every single one of us there would be completely different visions for what we want from it.”
Often lumped in with South London’s heavily mythologised guitar scene, Sports Team draw from their own distinct cosmology - housed together in Harlesden, it’s more than mere post code identity that separates them from their peers.
“There’s a big punk scene at the moment with bands like Shame and Goat Girl, who - to an extent - are our peers, just because they’re the people we’ve come up playing with,” he explains. “I think for us it’s more about the romance - it’s a romanticised Britain In Bloom roundabout, or whatever it is that you see. We want to valorise the mundane.”
WHERE: North West London
WHAT: Helter skelter indie that capturing the magical ennui of suburban nowhere
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Margate’, ‘Kutcher’, ‘Get Back To The Point’
FACT: With nothing better to do, Sports Team once walked from Harlseden to St Albans. They covered a 30-mile distance and, says Alex, “I remember getting back with bleeding feet!”
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Words: Robin Murray
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
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