When we tune in with Sports Team vocalist Alex Rice as the band currently travels the country performing concerts and promoting their just-released second album, Gulp!, we have only one thing to say…

…here we go again!

Think back to 2020 and you might recall that the indie rock band – then releasing their debut album Deep Down Happy – were caught in the middle of an intense chart race with Lady Gaga’s comeback album, Chromatica, for the number 1 spot on the Official Albums Chart. Gaga won this round, but a first number 2 for a debut album is nothing to sniff at.

And it looks like Sports Team – or Alex, Oli, Al, Rob, Ben and Henry – just can’t get enough, because this time they’re back for another one card race; this time, however, the lane widened a bit and they found themselves up against D-Block Europe, Mark Owen and 5 Seconds Of Summer.

MORE: Official Sports Team Rankings History

I mean, I wouldn’t have chosen a member of Take That [as our competition]”, Alex tells us over the phone. “5 Seconds of Summer, we’ve always been pretty aware of that, and the D-Block Europe album has a few of them. huge people on it! Like, Ed Sheeran.”

But how does the band feel about the prospect of another battle for the top this time around, as seasoned chart-topping fighters?

I think we feel good,” says Alex. “I mean, we’re kind of a small group and we don’t do things right. It’s not see polite, or something like that. The way we conduct ourselves, we don’t try to advertise ourselves and it’s good when that seems to resonate with people, because last time we didn’t really get a chance to do this.”

Oh yes. The last time. The perfect time to release the first album from the major label you’ve been working on for years…in the midst of a global pandemic where you can’t really get out.

For Sports Team, who all lived together in a house at the time (imagine!) but now the world has opened up and the group is embracing the intricacies of live promotion as well as, oddly enough, TikTok. ‘Cause when you think Sports Team, you don’t think immediately think TikTok, right?

“Well, you would be wrong!” alexander Actually informs us that Sports Team’s presence on TikTok is doing well, in fact. And yes, they might technically be threatening to sue Primark, but that’s all part of the fun and they just released a video with a million views, so what are you going to do?

One thing that’s important to the band this time around, as much as they pee – and watch their social media channels to see how self-aware they are during this campaign – is how much l Sports Team’s growing importance as a group is tied to broader musical trends.

“I feel like guitar music is getting more and more popular,” says Alex. “It’s just a really special time to be in record stores. They’re so rooted in guitar music. Everybody supports each other. The kind of people who buy our album are people who go to three shows a week. .”

So ultimately if we were to stick Alex Rice and the rest of Sports Team on a stage and get them to address any UK mainstream audience who might be buying Gulp!… what would they say for attract them?

“They’re the greatest live band in the world trying to make a record a little better every time. Come on in, because you’ll probably get more out of this band than any other!”

Images of the article: Laura Maccabee

Sip! is now available through Island Records