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Hooks, attitude, and a grungy exterior. Hockey Dad’s second LP, Blend Inn is an ambitious step following the punchy pop and lovelorn coastal vibrations of 2016’s Boronia.
It doesn’t always hit home. Homely Feeling blasts forth with the all the kinetic energy you could hope for, but when Zach Stephenson waxes paranoiac about being chased with guns it’s hard to buy into. A generation of Australian groups have been raised on the poppier extremities of grunge, yet when it comes to their own music, the pathos and blind nihilism which bled from a drug-stricken scene like Seattle isn’t there. Musically they’re on fire. Damaged goods they’re not.
It’s a luring thread of nostalgia that brings this album home. Returning to beachside township of Windang after a lengthy absence sparks a struggle to integrate. These songs are the battle to embrace normality. I Wanna Be Everybody embodies this. It sits between satirising a need for conformist identity and close near fetishising it.
This record documents the pair maturing without jettisoning their sense of fun
There’s an undeniable sonic alchemy holding the record together. Even if the listener doesn’t have the faintest what the words of I Wanna Be Everybody are putting across, the flat-out emotionalism of Zach’s delivery can make them feel it. Blend Inn is slick. These songs are practically jumping out of the speakers.
Hockey Dad are on a hot streak. They’re selling-out mid-sized venues across the country. All they need is a hard-rocking flash of energy to keep the fire burning.
Blend Inn provides. The pair’s second maintains momentum while pushing outward into something more ambitious. The Dads might struggle to conjure the dark stuff, but they’re every bit sincere. This record documents the pair maturing without jettisoning their sense of fun. While there’s a little more to tease out so much delinquent energy is ricocheting between these tracks a listener would be hard pressed to notice.
STANDOUT TRACKS: I Wanna Be Everybody, Homely Feeling, Join the Club
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Cloud Nothings, Dune Rats, Nirvana