Pitch Perfect Police Mode
Ah, the delightful, dancing grooves of hockey! Don’t they just make you wanna get down? All that ice and sticks and —
No, hear me out, man —
Hockey is a band, too. They began as a duo, upgraded to a four-piece for a spell, then cleaned house. Now, Hockey is back to its OG recipe – singer Benjamin Grubin and bassist Jeremy ‘Jerm’ Reynolds: two fellas against the big bad world of wants and needs.
A post on their sparse and somewhat cryptic Tumblr tells the backstory for their latest effort, Wyeth IS: “We were freaking out trying to please everyone. Meet expectations. Our label and management at the time wanted a specific commercial sound from us. But every time we tried to deliver it, we ended up stumbling upon new vibes and approaches that were actually alive and exciting to us. What can be done?”
What can be done indeed?
Hockey went with their collective gut and it resulted in a series of inventive and very listenable choices. The record is eclectic: soulful indie new wave spattered with a buffet of melodic whimsies and playful beats. There are no bad tracks; just a range of good to very good. The feel is often predominantly ’80s, but with a lot of creative turns. “Love is Strange” mixes ’80s electro-style with a light touch of Friendly Fires; it is delicately produced and utterly danceable. There’s the Police-like “My Mind,” and “Meat Hard Life,” relaxed & Depeche Mode-y “Dancer” and the exact fusion of both (Police Mode, so to speak) in “Calling Back.”
Altogether, Wyeth IS… it IS… well, what it is is: damn well done. While Hockey may sport a bewildering name and fly in the face of commercial demands, their creative instincts are pitch perfect.