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Hockey - 'Learn To Lose'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:35 UK time, Tuesday, 26 May 2009

HockeyHere's how it all starts. A watery ripple of sound, a fairy lady lets loose a spiralling moan, the drums and bass kick into what can only be described as a 'hot groove', and twittery guitars do that chunterfunk thing you don't hear so much of these days. Then Benjamin Grubin steps up to the mic, and we hear this:

"I don't know what to do"

and then this:

"I don't know what to do"

and then:

"I don't know what to do"


"I don't know what to do"

Er, Ben? Benjy? Maybe you could, y'know...START THE SONG! We are ALL WAITING HERE!

Sheesh! What a time to have a crisis of confidence.

(Here's the video. It's a video about shooting a video. Should I be filming myself watching it?)

The good news is, once Ben gets himself together, summery pop things start to happen straight away. It's more pop as in "quality popular music like people used to make when your dad was a nipper" than "the very latest in amazing sound and ideas", but that's kind of perfect for summer, isn't it? Something a bit familiar, but fresh enough that you're not constantly playing spot the reference.

Plus it's happy! And it sounds HUGE! And Ben can really properly sing, not just whisper-yelp like certain people (out of Metro Station), even if he does occasionally huff and puff like he's trying to prove he has soul. And that fairy lady makes what could be a worthy but dull exercise in rootsy riff-pop into something a little stranger and more interesting, so everyone wins.

Unfortunately, it seems Ben can't quite keep it together for an entire song. He lapses back into wondering what to do after the guitar solo. But don't be too hard on him, apparently last time he lost control of his confidence it took him five years to get it back.

Frankly, if it's like that this time around, I will probably have found something else to do by then. At least, I very much hope so.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: June 1st
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Strangeglue says: "The band are currently making waves in the indie world with their watered down Strokes-like riffs and crazy hair."

The Noises In Our Heads says: "It is probably going to be quite the floor filler this summer."

Consequence Of Sound says: "Hockey is the name of a sport."



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