Review Summary: Bland Inn
Cocky and savvy is not how one would describe Hockey Dad prior to this album’s release. But somehow the band managed to up their game, although not in any major instrumental or song-writing way. This album lands much better than the band’s first probably accidentally, if that makes sense. Everything on here sounds bolder and more outlandish, even though nothing much has changed, except for a noticeable lack of abhorrent background clapping and those awkward “woo-hoo” chants indie bands still keep on using.
From the opening vibrant guitar chords of “My Stride” and a certain boast-like quality in vocals it is obvious that this will be a slightly relaxed experience. Relaxed, that is, in the technical way. You shouldn’t expect any real instrumental and production challenges from it, neither any particular depth in lyrics or range in vocals. It is rather an acrimonious, but simultaneously a vividly carefree experience.
It is quite hard to pin down what result exactly did the band aim for, whether simple catchiness that stays with the listener for a while, or a musically conservative grower, whose goal is to enthral the listener and leave a certain impression, not just a mere feeling of entertainment. However, neither probable goals seem to be accomplished. The songs rarely have any real tuneful merit and the whole album’s structure, lyricism and the simplistic execution resembles nothing more than a throwaway indie record with some grainy surf production elements. Occasional decent tune like “Homely Feeling”, “Join the Club” or “Running Out” does spice things up a bit, but in the end the experience hardly surpasses the point of anyone’s interest.
A mixed bag, as far as mixed bags go. I do commend the band for leaving the washed out brattish demeanour of their previous record behind and I wish them progress in pursuing an actually cohesive and persistently striking record. So far, all we’ve had is a jingles collection and a disorganised semi-thought-out good-timer-wannabe. But I do believe they’ll get it at some point.