Cub Sport - Jesus At The Gay Bar


“a euphoric slice of electropop” – Rolling Stone

“pop that carriers with it an irresistible, airy charm” – Ones To Watch

“now stands a band that is so at ease with themselves, it’s hard to fathom that they were anything but.” – Billboard

“The fierce honesty and torn-open vulnerability of Cub Sport is exactly the beauty we need in a world torn apart.” – Rolling Stone Australia

“This tender, gorgeous love song immediately takes hold of your feelings with the opening chords, as a distorted voice sings about driving forever.” – Billboard on “Keep Me Safe”

“Sparkles with the warmth of new beginnings” – PAPER Magazine

“This dual-toned production is sure to evoke a heart-pang that is oh so familiar for many young queer relationships, with Nelson singing about falling in love in seclusion, avoiding the fear that exists outside of secrecy.” – V Magazine on “Keep Me Safe”

For their entire career, Cub Sport have been searching for some kind of absolution. To listen to the Brisbane band’s music is to see a process of unburdening and unlearning in slow motion: their four albums to date plot a progression away from shame and towards joy, celebration and pure euphoria. On their resplendent fifth album Jesus At The Gay Bar, Cub Sport finally reach that point of ecstatic lightness, or at least somewhere close to it. Using the language of bright, crystalline dance music as shorthand for a kind of hard-won spiritual freedom, Jesus At The Gay Bar finds the four-piece – Tim Nelson, Sam Netterfield, Zoe Davis and Dan Puusaari – largely shedding hangups and celebrating love and life in all its manifestations.

Cub Sport’s 2020 album Like Nirvana was a bloodletting of sorts – dealing with the long, complex legacy that religious trauma can leave on a life – and Jesus At The Gay Bar is about moving forward unencumbered. It’s an ode to celebrating one’s past, not just outrunning it, and looking boldly into the future, without the fear of past demons resurfacing. “There’s a lot from my life before I came out that has always been shrouded in shame, fear and secrecy. But it doesn’t have to be a secret anymore, and I feel like I can really shine a light on the magic of it and recognise and celebrate it for what it was and is,” says Nelson. “A lot of this album is validating my younger self – like if I could have heard some of these songs back then, I might have found some peace within myself sooner, maybe even celebration.”

Even if Jesus At The Gay Bar can’t slip back through time, it’s sure to find a home in the record collections of anyone looking to embrace the bright, bold potential of queer experience. This album is Cub Sport in all-bangers, few-ballads mode: the production here nods to house, 2-step and UK garage, while retaining the lush fragility of Cub Sport music past. These are dance songs whose beats capture the feeling of butterflies in your stomach and stars in your eyes. The crackling, kinetic “Songs About It” is a piano-house rave-up that’s thick with the heat of a summer dancefloor, while “Always Got The Love” stretches a feeling of pure devotion into a gripping, muscular groove. These songs might remind you of the past, or they might provide diamond-hard assurance that the future holds something honest and thrilling. Written during the pandemic, the carefree sound of Jesus At The Gay Bar was inspired by time spent in private, communing with nature and relaxing with friends and family. “I was so familiar with getting my joy and happiness from playing shows,” Nelson says. “I had to learn to find joy elsewhere. And that kind of lead to me wanting to make music that gave me that energy, and that at its core, felt uplifting.”

On Jesus At The Gay Bar, that sense of uplift is used to reify and exalt stories from Nelson and Netterfield’s past – namely, their love story. Across this record, the early days of their relationship, at the time shrouded in secrecy and fear, are memorialised for what they are: moments of beauty and youthful ecstasy. Many of these songs, “Keep Me Safe” and “Replay” among them, recognize those moments as necessary scenes of transformation and growth. Set to booming dance-pop, they play like fairytales, stories to be heard over and over. It’s not the end of the story Cub Sport have been telling over their decade-plus as a band, but it does speak to something their music has always tried to convey – about music and artmaking as a powerful and spiritually emboldening process. “I think that’s the beauty of writing honestly about my own life – it all fits together and reveals a little bit more of this greater story that’s still playing out, from an ever-evolving perspective but with the same heart,” Nelson says. “We have the self-appointed freedom to evolve and change and I think that’s why, five albums in, it still feels exciting.”


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