They’re still sombre, but the Manchester pop duo flirt with optimism on a fist-pumping third album
Album review: Hockey - 'Mind Chaos'
It’s fun, it’s bouncy, but is there more to their off-the-peg indie?
Hockey are the aural manifestation of this: they look like MGMT but sound more like Mika. From the pseudo-Virgins 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.
It’s all very foot-tappy, bouncy and bushy-tailed, and there’s diversion to be found in the ‘Time to Pretend’-style nonchalant excess on debut single ‘Too Fake’ – irony? – and the lyrical car crashes of, among others, ‘Song Away’ (“I’m gonna write a truthful song over an ’80s groove/I’d like to let you know I’ll always be straight with you”).
It’s all a bit practiced though, with little sense this far of any individual vision or personality. There’s a shiny, echoing hollowness behind it all, that leaves you with an unsettled feeling. There’s respite with the understated opening of ‘Wanna Be Black’ before it all goes a bit power chorus, but too much of Hockey’s first effort is just Take That in a pleather jacket.
The problem is not so much with the contents as with the packaging. ‘Mind Chaos’ is a pop record, and, as a pop record, it kind of works – it’s full of chart-friendly singles and sung by a bunch that are bound to find themselves doted on by 13-year-olds. But setting up Hockey as credible artists is like extolling the romantic nuances of Peter Andre’s ‘Mysterious Girl’ – all a little hard to stomach.
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