Review – “Holy Hell” – Sportsfan

reviewed by Soraya Mamiche

According to their Facebook page, Sportsfan describe their sound as “jean jacket rock,” which aptly captures their light and laid-back style with its tinge of grunge. If in search for a fun mix of songs to add to your summer playlist – anti-denim folk and jean jacket aficionados alike – Sportsfan’s new EP begs for a listen.

Ali Haberstroh’s voice, soothing yet slightly somber, lures the listener into the album’s opening track, “Deep End.” Interwoven with gentle “oohs,” Haberstroh’s vocals are complemented by a tranquil instrumental. However, once Dylan Ryan’s drumming kicks in, the seams of the track’s seemingly tame structure begin to unravel. What started as a soft and steady song ruptures into a delightful frenzy; unhinged, a wild medley of electrifying instrumental ensues.

With “Gabriel” Sportsfan infuse their accessible strain of garage rock with verve and vigor. Loaded with spirited drums and guitar, the buoyant instrumental urges one to bop along, while Haberstroh’s honeyed vocals wail alongside the dance-inducing clamor. Holy Hell’s final track, “Runner’s High,” exhibits Haberstroh’s lyrical playfulness. The lines “Seems I’ve lost my mind, everything’s just fine. Everything’s just great, and I’m bat-shit insane,” are especially relatable. Then, with less than a minute to spare, the band breaks into a fiery jam redolent of late ‘70s power pop and draws the album to a close.

With Holy Hell, jean-jacket-rockers Sportsfan have crafted an indie rock gem ideal for easy summer listening.

Top Track: “Deep End”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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