Bad Sports

Living with Secrets

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Bad Sports started getting a little bit tougher and a good bit more serious on their 2013 album Bras, and the progression continues on 2016's Living with Secrets. This seven-song EP shows the Denton, Texas punks gaining in muscle and confidence, and though they still know how to deliver a tune that sticks in the ear, their range of influences is growing and their music hits harder this time out. "Don't Get Your Hopes Up" recalls the buzzsaw attack of the Dead Boys, "Where Are You?" bears a passing resemblance to the downbeat melodies of the Eternally Yours-era Saints, and the title cut has some of the punk/hard rock punch of the Dictators. Fortunately, Bad Sports are good enough that this doesn't feel like hanging out with the band while they spin their favorite records, and Living with Secrets has plenty to offer in energy and force. Guitarist and singer Orville Neeley wails eloquently on guitar, filling the tunes with heavy downstroke and fiery but efficient solos, while bassist Daniel Friend and drummer Gregory Rutherford have the stamina and the inspiration to keep up with him and push the tunes into high gear. And at just under 20 minutes, Living with Secrets might seem a bit disappointing to fans hoping for a new Bad Sports album, but there's little in the way of filler here, and the hit-and-run approach works for these guys. If this is a stopgap for Bad Sports, Living with Secrets bodes well for their next full-length, and on its own terms, it's a solid dose of rock action from a band that's getting better each time they walk into the studio.

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