Hockey is an indie group which formed in 2002 in Portland, Oregon, United States. They consist of Ben Grubin (vocals), Brian White (guitar), Jeremy Reynolds (bass) and Anthony Stassi (drums). The group’s debut album “Mind Chaos” was issued on September 28, 2009. It contains the singles “Too Fake” and “Song Away”.
“Look out! I’ve got too much soul for the world!” growls Hockey singer Ben Grubin on opening track “Too Fake” channeling the swagger of a raspy Rod Stewart. And judging by the spring-loaded bass line and buoyant drum keeping up behind him, this is the sort of hit song that comes around only once in an iPod’s life cycle: it’s the perfect meeting point between downtown New York and the seedy streets of London.
But before you judge the direction of the Portland quartet’s debut based on the gate-crashing first single, check out the curveball that is “3 AM Spanish,” a funky composition with a spirit committed to both the fluidity of rap and the angstiness of Combat Rock-influenced punk. In fact, Grubin’s experience as an amateur MC way back in high school, as he reveals, comes in handy intermittently throughout Mind Chaos such as in the bridge to the howling “Curse This City,” (which, jarringly, also ends with a soulful and paradoxical commitment to “love this city”) and also during the verse of the spitfired Dylanisms of “Preacher.”
To quote NME
“The government wants to bring in ID cards and independent businesses are crumbling to nothingness everywhere we look, but last time we checked we weren’t actually living in George Orwell’s 1984. Why, then, does there seem to have been a nationwide uniform memo circulated dictating that everyone has to dress the same? It’s not indie snobbery or fashion elitism but, since we all learnt how to walk vertically, clothing’s been a fair indicator of like-mindedness.
Hockey are the aural manifestation of this: they look like MGMT but sound more like Mika. From the pseudo- drawl, through the VanWyngarden headbands to the synths polished within an inch of their life, it’s as though they’ve followed a step by step manual of how to be ‘cool’ but forgotten the vital ingredient of actually having a heart.”
While I tend to agree with some of the comments made above, I have to reject the thinking that this band has no “heart.” Just because something is very well put together and seemingly practiced, for lack of a better word, does not mean its heartless. When did getting really good at what you do become a negative thing? When did looking super slick open you up to references of homogeneity? I think its bollocks, Hockey look radical and sound pretty bloody cool. Nothing wrong in my eyes. NME started the “indie production line” by glamorising the scene and the music in the first place, so if anyone should be taking responsibility for this so called “like-mindedness” its them!
Check out one of the songs off “Mind Chaos” here – Song Away