Hockey Dad “Brain Candy”

From time to time, everyone needs some Brain Candy to dissociate from reality. Thankfully, Wollongong’s Hockey Dad is here to deliver. After a two-month delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Brain Candy, the third LP from the duo, is slated for release on 31 July 2020.

Produced, engineered and mixed by John Goodmanson, Brain Candy channels Hockey Dad’s jangly fuzz-pop sound and then some, but seldom diverges from their tried and tested formula. This is not to the album’s detriment. In fact, it is quite advantageous insofar as the end result is a consistently cohesive thirteen track product sure to impress die-hard Hockey Dad fans and new ones alike.

With a bevy of singles already receiving heavy radio airplay including In this State, Good Eye, I Missed Out and Itch, there are so many more that could easily slot into the rotation. Germaphobe, like Good Eye, is a catchy alt-pop earworm, while Tell Me What You Want inoffensively taps into a commercial-esque domain, and Nestle Down shines in its simplicity.

Milk in the Sun, Heavy Assault and Dole Brother, three quite different songs, are demonstrative of what can be achieved in less than three minutes. Each emits a classic 90s sound. Then again, Brain Candy largely channels a 90s vibe in most songs, the noticeable exception being Keg. The softer sounding Keg stands out from the rest of the album. With distinctive guitar and bass lines and Zach Stephenson professing, “I just need time/ To get you off my mind” Keg has a Country sensibility to it, yet manages to fit within the overall mood of Brain Candy.

Similarly, Reno is wonderfully out of place. After a gentle, haunting introduction it slow burns into a full-bodied love song with honest lyrics, “Let me be your emergency contact info/ Just to know you are alive” before suddenly ending. The slow and deliberate sound carries through to Looking Forward to the Change. The concluding song is appropriately apt in the current world climate since we are all looking forward to a (positive) change.

Hockey Dad may have set out to offer the world some escapist brain candy, but they have subsequently created a genuinely rich album. Brain Candy is a pleasing addition to their discography and sure to excite fans.

Album Review By Anita Kertes

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