Read Cub Sport's Track-by-track Thoughts On Their New Album

4 March 2016 | 12:32 pm | Staff Writer

"We’ve grown up a lot and we wanted this album to be a reflection of that."

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Brissy indie-pop mainstays (and today's Periscope guests!) Cub Sport are celebrating the release of their new full-length, This Is Our Vice, today, with the band now a couple of dates into their celebratory run of shows in support.

Before they hit Katoomba tonight - and, consequently, Newcastle, Bellingen and Brisbane over the next few days - frontman Tim Nelson has very kindly opened up about the story behind every track on the release, so slap on the playlist and read about the foundations and hidden meanings strewn across the assured new record.

Cub Sport have further tour dates lined up in the southern states from 26 March; see theGuide or The Music App for further details.

This Is Our Vice is an honest musical expression of some of the most defining experiences for us over the last couple of years. When creating this album, we wanted to go deeper than we had with previous Cub Sport releases. Our EPs earned us a reputation for making upbeat, catchy music and I guess one of our goals for the album was to create music that was still catchy and upbeat, but to marry up those qualities with with lyrics that are genuine and meaningful. Our hope is that these songs resonate with people and connect in a meaningful way. We’ve grown up a lot and we wanted this album to be a reflection of that. 


This song is about going where you’re happy, where it’s warm. It’s not about running away from problems, but it’s more saying if the environment/people you’re surrounded by aren’t bringing out the best in you, change it and go where you can be your best, happiest self.

I Can’t Save You

I wrote this song about one of my friends. For years we would have the same sort of conversations whenever we had drunk too much; we’d talk about how if things had have gone differently maybe we would have ended up together. But then it got to the point where it was just happening to avoid other issues and feelings that were coming up, like by being together we could shut out other things that were going on in our lives. As much as I would have liked to have been that person for her, I just knew it would end up over-complicating the whole situation for both of us. 

It Kills Me

I’ll tell you about the third track on the album, It Kills Me. I wrote it when one of my good friends started working as a sex worker. She’s a strong person and I knew that, so I just offered her my support however I could. I worried about her a lot and I struggled with the fact that someone I cared about so much was in that situation because it was so foreign to me. This song was like a promise that I’d be there for her if she ever felt like she needed me to help. When it started to wear on her, she ended up getting out of it and she’s in a really great place now.

Come On Mess Me Up

My dad has a book of Leonard Cohen lyrics that I was reading — his lyrics are incredible. It inspired me to be more honest and genuine with my writing. Come On Mess Me Up sounds a bit like a desperate love ballad; I guess it kind of is a desperate love ballad about my relationship with music. I wrote it about how I want to keep doing this even if it messes me up a bit along the way — pursuing music can be pretty rough mentally and physically.
The verses more or less follow my journey from when I first started writing/recording songs when I was working on Sparkes St, to when I went to uni to study dentistry then un-enrolled three years in so I could pursue music. The third verse references when we were touring overseas and I got really sick — that’s what ‘throwing up real hard’ line is about. This song is one of my favourites on the album. A cool thing about this recording; the ‘come on’ backing vocals in the chorus are the original ones recorded through my Apple headset mic from my original bedroom demo.

I’m On Fire

I’m On Fire is one of the heaviest songs I’ve written. It’s about a girl who set herself on fire after she was broken up with. I started writing it in 2010 before Cub Sport even existed. It’s been knocking around in multiple forms over the years, but with this rework we felt like it fit in nicely on the album. It’s nice to finally be releasing it six years after I first wrote the chorus.

Only Friend

I wrote this song when we got a test mix of It Kills Me back from our first mixing, which was done by a Grammy-award winning producer. He’d worked with a lot of big names, so we were expecting it to sound amazing. The mix ended up sounding really dead which was hugely disappointing and caused delays with putting the album out (but also meant we got to include Only Friend on the album). I didn’t plan on Only Friend being a Cub Sport song; I just recorded it for me really. I showed the rest of the band and they really liked it, so we ended up working on it with our producer John Castle.
All of the vocals are the first-take vocals I recorded in my bedroom as I was writing it, we didn’t re-record any of them which I think is cool ‘cause it captures exactly how I was feeling at the exact moment I was writing it. John ended up mixing the whole album, which felt right. He really captured what we were trying to achieve. I like being able to listen to this song now, knowing that all of the anxiety, delays and hiccups along the way were all worth it. We’re really happy with how the album turned out and Only Friend is one of my fav songs on the album. 


I wrote the lyrics for the pre-chorus of this song first. I was listening to a fair bit of Courtney Barnett and I was really loving Buzzcut Season by Lorde - I love how their lyrics are so descriptive and transport you to another time and place. I didn’t know how else to flesh out the song and the lyrics I had, so I made it about being a ‘runner’ or someone who doesn’t want to settle. It’s about meeting someone that you unexpectedly want to open up to and dealing with the fact that you’re about to let your guard down. 
The backing vocals you hear in the second chorus were recorded on my Apple headphone mic. I put a whole lot of reverb and delays on the track I was recording into, pressed record and just started singing over the top of the chorus without a plan. I just did the one take and even though it sounded kind of weird, I was really happy with how it sounded all together, so we kept it in the final mix for the album.
The original Runner demo had programmed drums throughout but we wanted to add real drums so it had more of a live feel. The drums you hear on the recording are a blend of the two which captures the mood of the original demo while adding the energy and authenticity of the live drum sounds.

I Don’t Love My Baby

This song is about a miserable relationship. It’s about being with someone who ticks boxes but you’re on a completely different page to them and after years of being worn down you eventually realise that you just don’t love each other. 

I Feel Bad Now

I Feel Bad Now is like part two to It Kills Me
While we were on tour in the US, my friend went through a really hard time back home. She’s a really strong girl, but when things accumulate, sometimes it just gets to be too much. It was bad and I wasn’t there for her. I was on the other side of the world which made it hard but looking back on the situation, I could have done more to be there for her. I wish I could have been stronger and been someone to count on. This song is my apology for not being there for her when I said I would be.
My vocals in the verses and bridge are the original first takes from my home demo. Our producer, John, said we should keep the takes from the demo because there’s something genuine and effortless about the vocal delivery, so we went with that and I’m glad we did! I ended up changing some lyrics in the chorus so I re-recorded those vocals when we were in the studio, but we kept it to limited takes so that the vibe was consistent throughout. The last thing we added to this song was the high whirring guitar part in the background of the choruses. We felt like sonically the song was too bright but the slightly unsettling sound of that guitar part shifted the overall mood of the song and made it feel right. 


This is the first song I recorded by myself in my bedroom. Some of the backing vocals in it are the original ones I recorded on the demo with my apple headset mic.
This song is about when someone I really love was fucking up and doing the wrong thing. It's about a situation that became my secret to hold onto as well. I became an enabler and I was doing everything I could to try hold it together so that my friend’s world didn’t fall apart. It all ended up out in the open and everything is resolved and good. That's pretty vague but it’s not really my story to tell.


Stay is about wishing you could control someone else’s mind/emotions to make them want you or go back in time and do things differently. The chorus is pretty much just begging someone to stay. It’s kind of a weirdly possessive/dark/desperate song now that I’m writing about it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯