Hockey Mind Chaos Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

They seem to actually give a puck.

Lou Thomas 2009

Hockey singer Benjamin Grubin’s slippery way with a fast lyric is one of the most appealing aspects of his band’s debut album.

During 3am Spanish, a snappy new wave relative of The Rolling Stones’ Miss You, Grubin coolly intones: “I got the money, but the money got me… I made the money but the money made me.” Later, on Song Away, there’s an equally cool couplet: “See what man has done to the world, see what the world has done to your man.”

These snippets epitomise the appeal of Mind Chaos succinctly. It’s a brief, bright and muscular album that rarely outstays its welcome and is never too clever for its own good.

Opening the record with debut single Too Fake was unwise, though. A fantastic, sweating Hulk Hogan of a synth-adorned pop-rock hit, the album never quite hits the same towering heights afterwards.

Fortunately, there is still plenty to love, from the Iglu & Hartly-go-Motown joy of Learn to Lose to Grubin’s throaty Rod Stewart via Julian Casablancas yelp. Even when Preacher starts drearily, expectations are overturned when it transforms into the jaunty soundtrack to a Wild West bar brawl.

One quibble is the slightly derivative nature of the Portland band’s repertoire. As well as the bands mentioned above, Led Zeppelin (Curse This City), Bob Dylan and Primal Scream (Four Holy Photos) and Talking Heads (Song Away) are pretty obvious references for a mainstream rock act to drop.

Originality niggles aside, the vitality and wit these Oregon upstarts display on this first LP is enough to recommend them to anyone interested in hearing a quality good-time band. Hockey seem to actually give a puck, and that’s reason enough to like ‘em for now.

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