It can get as simple as this: I really like J. Wang’s voice and guitar tone. They’re both raspy yet clear, smoky yet unstrained. This is the opposite of a diss: it feels like when you’ve been gone for awhile, a year or two. You roll into town, pull up a barstool, order a beer, swivel around, and a band you really like is loading in. It’s a pleasant surprise. You’re happy that they all look like life hasn’t beaten them; that they’re still playing. They plug in and they’re as good as ever. Noble and luminous, even. You buy the record after the show, take it home, and end up playing it as much as their previous full-lengths, splits, and singles. The difference is that you’re no longer part of a day-to-day, week-in, week-out drinking and partying crew. It’s just you and some friends you occasionally stay in touch with. But the songs; the songs stand by themselves. It’s too easy to take bands like Dan Padilla for granted, but if you’re looking to hear honest, well-crafted, no-false-shine, no full-merch-table, no “DIY-for-now” songs, Sports Fans delivers. Here’s to barstool remembering and newborns entering the world into the arms of caring parents.
–todd (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com)