Year 3, Day 7: Hockey’s Mind Chaos

Year 3, Day 7: Hockey – Mind Chaos

Tracklisting

  1. Too Fake
  2. 3 A.M. Spanish
  3. Learn to Lose
  4. Work
  5. Song Away
  6. Curse This City
  7. Wanna Be Black
  8. Four Holy Photos
  9. Preacher
  10. Put the Game Down
  11. Everyone’s the Same Age

About the Album

Mind Chaos is the 2009 debut studio album from Portland (Oregon) based band, Hockey. The album peaked at number 33 on the United Kingdom charts and number 29 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.

Thoughts on the Album

I decided to go on a hunt for something different today. I was on the look out for one of my favorite indie-rock albums and I found a gem in Hockey‘s Mind Chaos. It’s easy to see why big time labels such as Sony and Capitol Records were interested in the band: their angular and bouncy basslines, chugging guitars, and washy keyboards. It’s a mishmash of tried-and-true new wave indie sounds like that of the StrokesOK Go, and The Killers. But given that, while the album and the band sounds effective, it is certainly not fresh sounds by any means.

The character of this album lies in the vocals of Ben Grubin’s raspy crooning and his surprisingly smart lyrics. The album, to me, suffers from a lack of stretching things out. But when the tracks on this album do stretch things out, they get very intriguing. One of my favorite tracks, Work, is a slinkier and smoky side to the band but also seems to give off a vibe of a “disco style” fetish. It’s weird but it works for me. It has you tapping your foot and singing along to it.

The track, Preacher, goes from a gospel-infused ballad and transforms into a blazing rock song. Too Fake, the album opener, while stutters to a start, thumps and bounces along before the hook: it’s chorus. The chorus soars above the rest. While the chorus in itself is rather cliché, it is Grubin’s crooning that keeps it from becoming dull, infusing it with enthusiasm. The song has the vibe and attitude of a James Murphy track, and grooves along with dance-punk beat.

Song Away, almost sounds like it was made for a commercial (in fact I think it was used in a few). While it’s nothing more that your run-of-the-mill pop song, it’s the band’s surging delivery and Grubin’s lyrics that make it a cut above the rest.

Conclusion

While I see why multiple record companies were interested, Sony dropping them while in production really hurt this album’s quality. If the Label would have stuck with the band/album, I think the album would have been excellent. The album could have been better (a lot better), Mind Chaos was a good start.

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