It’s undeniable that Hockey is turning heads worldwide.
OK, this might not be the type of hockey you’re thinking of. Forget the skates, knee pads and overly aggressive fans. This type of Hockey consists of a four-piece band that could be the next big thing in the music industry.
With the Oct. 6 release of its debut album, Mind Chaos, Hockey is ready to take the general public out for a dance, as it has been doing with music youths, bloggers and critics for the past several months. The eclectic Portland, Ore.-based band plays around with various musical styles — including a true indie sound complete with repetitive sequences, classic country song patterns, captivating ’80s grooves and funky bass lines — to create tracks that can strike up a dance party at any time.
“Mind Chaos is a concept album that serves as a soundtrack for popular culture in general,” said bassist and founding member Jeremy “Jerm” Reynolds.
And a truly intoxicating chaos it is, brewing a sarcastic yet hypocritically biographical tone and one of the most interesting and commercially accessible projects to be released in 2009.
Hockey had the fortune of being discovered and funded by the major label Capitol Records at the end of 2008. As Reynolds put it, Capitol Records was kind enough to “fund our art project.”
“We really just want to get our music across and get people to hear our songs,” Reynolds said.
With Capitol Records as a deep-pocketed supporter, Hockey gets the best of both worlds, acting as a big card for a hugely influential player in the music industry while also maintaining the independent creative freedom needed to create a legitimate product that can compete in the indie scene.
Even before Mind Chaos hit stores, Hockey has been ferociously climbing the industry’s ladder, from playing small bars in Los Angeles and Portland to opening for popular indie bands such as Friendly Fires and Passion Pit. The group appeared at significant festivals like Lollapalooza and even cemented its own headlining tour in less than a year.
Luckily, Hockey, in Mind Chaos, lives up to its hype. Songs like “Work” and “Too Fake” are dance-y and upbeat, while “Curse This City” and “Wanna Be Black” accentuate the band’s funkier elements. “Preacher” and “Four Holy Photos” lean toward a more spiritual approach that sounds as country as early Kings of Leon albums.
“Song Away” — the only track that was not self-produced by the band — is the album’s standout piece with its fusion of wittingly written lyrics and ’80s-pop feel. Ironically, the song loosely narrates the band’s journey — truly, tomorrow is just a song away, and that can happen faster than one can imagine.
Hockey’s lyrics also serve as commentary on society, music and today’s music industry told in first person. This is best expressed in “Too Fake,” where lead singer Benjamin Grubin shamelessly belts, Look out/Cause I’m just too fake for the world — the perfect example of how the band’s members are hardly modest or afraid to express their strong ideas.
Clearly, Hockey has enough substance to be a band that excels in the music world — give them enough time, and this relatively young band will certainly become a group of fun-loving, indie-rock entertainers.