Bad Sports

Kings of the Weekend

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Coming out of Texas like a high-intensity twister, Bad Sports play the kind of good, clean punk & roll that the Ramones invented in the mid-'70s and bands have been using as a template ever since. Kings of the Weekend has the usual loud and tight guitars, simple chord progressions, snotty but sweet vocals, and songs about girls, beer, and other teenage issues, but unlike a lesser band that might sound clichéd and reactionary by sticking so close to the established norm, Bad Sports play with enough energy to blast right past any reservations one might have. They also write some damn catchy songs. The 14 songs (which fly past in less than half an hour) are all hooky and punchy, with TV’s Daniel and Orville Bateman Neeley III singing them like they really mean it maaan, but also with a wink. The songs and the sound overflow with energy and a fiery fun that would make any song plucked at random a highlight of a punky pop (or poppy punk) mixtape. As good as the trio is at bashing out imaginary radio rockers, the two songs at the end of the album when the bandmembers take their feet off the pedal for a second show that they can do emotional near-ballads (“You Don’t Wanna Know”) and midtempo tracks that smolder instead of flame (“Someday in the Future”) just as well. Kings of the Weekend may not be the kind of record that rewrites the rule book and Bad Sports may not be doing anything all that new, but like the late and lamented Exploding Hearts proved on Guitar Romantic, if you rehash the past with enough verve and fire (and great songs) you become leaders instead of copycats. Bad Sports may not quite be on that level yet, but Kings of the Weekend is an exciting and decisive step in that direction.

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