ALBUM REVIEW: Hockey Dad – ‘Brain Candy’


Words by Tracey Moyle – Music Maven Events


Adored Indie/Surf Rock duo Hockey Dad aren’t letting current restrictions ruin their fun with their third full length album ‘Brain Candy’ out Today (31/07/2020).

The Windang duo of Zach Stephenson (Guitar/vocals) and Billy Fleming (Drums/vocals) have come up with a unique solution holding the launch party evolving with unprecedented times, with an old style ‘drive-in movie theatre’ concept at Bulli Showgrounds in Woollongong NSW on the night the album drops.

‘Brain Candy’ is the bands second album with producer John Goodmason (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Wu-Tang Clan) working together on their sophomore release Blend Inn (2018). With a bunch of singles already on high rotate from the upcoming release, fans will be eager to hear the full cut. 

Since the realase of their 2014 debut EP ‘Dreamin’’, Stephenson and Fleming have not stopped, touring, recording and writing music constantly maturing and bringing out fresh new sounds for our listening pleasure.

Their instant popularity is a result of  their music standing out amongst the plethora of talent we have currently pulsing throughout the country. With their own unique blend of Indie, Surf and punk they’ve sealed a signature sound that is constantly maturing and this latest album holds very true to this fact.

They kick off the album with two energetic tracks that set the pace of the album from the start. That familiar Hockey Dad energy surging through. Third single release, In This State, is a great opener with a lively coastal rock feel, creating an uplifting vibe from the opener.



It’s followed by a melodic alt rock track, I Missed Out, bringing out a blast of catchy riffs you can’t get away from with Stephenson confirming the FOMO vibe of the track saying “I wrote it about being away touring and missing out on events at home”. This popular first release from ‘Brain Candy’ has had over 2 million hits on Spotify alone.



Cruising into a more chilled Milk In The Sun, there’s a complexity in the dreamy hooks that set a narcotic buzz throughout. The song drags you in with its hypnotic pace.  Fleming captures a rhythm that keeps you hanging on through the track with Stephenson’s melodic vocal giving the song a big indie vibe.

Latest single Good Eye feels like a step back to the classic alternative Aussie music days of the 90’s capturing a real Jebadiah feel. The song nods at their ‘older and wiser’ side;  “Well I’ve been playing for a while,I paid my dues, paid ’em all, I’ll catch you every time, I got a good eye”.



Germophobe takes you back into the upbeat indie feels,  the chorus hooks you in, uncomplicated, fresh and would be a crowd favourite on a live set list. 

(*Ed’s note: New music video for Germaphobe released today! Check it out below)



Second single release from the album, Itch goes back to that 90’s sound but angsty vocals and Stephenson’s  haunting guitar throughout give it a big Emo vibe. Fleming belting his way through the melancholic track. This song is a standout as it pushes away from typical Hockey Dad feels but also as one of my favourite Aussie rock tracks of 2020.



Taking it straight into Heavy Assult was the perfect choice, the moodiness of Itch but with a musical assault giving it more of a Nirvana-esque grunge kickback.   The mood doesn’t linger in the heaviness for long with Nestle Down picking it up from the go, bringing you right back into dancing mode. 

Ninth track Tell Me What You Want picks up the groove with a delightful leap back into pure Hockey Dad. Simplistic riffs with an upbeat cadence from the drums with Fleming leading us through this track, firing up through the chorus and giving us a gritty rock mood, belting it out at the end.  Dole Brother is a brilliant alt rock driven track, bursting with catchy riffs and a brilliantly crafted solo taking us back to more vintage Hockey Dad but with an exciting expanded maturity to the sound.

Taking the album out with a chilled ambience, the final three tracks take on more of an atmospheric dreamscape. The beautifully melodic Keg takes us back to a long ago era, touching on the origins of surf rock. Stephenson’s melodic vocals combined a chilled guitar tempo with a Duane Eddy twang leaving you with an understanding at how much music is timeless.

The dreamy Reno is dripping with apathy and a big, lazy dose of subdued hypnotic feels, with the sombre theme running through to the final track Looking Forward To The Change and its introspective state building to an awaking. With an almost psychedelic musical craze at the end this track still brilliantly keeps the mood with a repetitiously mesmerising riff holding onto the structure throughout.

Hockey Dad have shown a developing musical maturity with ‘Brain Candy’ that will have fans having this new album on high rotation. There is no doubt that if they continue producing the diversity within their Hockey Dad signature sound, they will become one of the new influential Aussie bands of the next wave of brilliant local artists that are sweeping our nation as we speak.

Brain Candy’ is out on all streaming platforms now via Farmer & The Owl / BMG. Support our music industry and purchase/download your copy HERE.



‘ALIVE AT THE DRIVE-IN’ RE-SCHEDULED SHOWS
Tickets Available HERE
FRIDAY 9 OCTOBER – BULLI SHOWGROUND, WOLLONGONG 
SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER – BULLI SHOWGROUND, WOLLONGONG

BRAIN CANDY TOUR (NEW DATES)
Presented by triple j
For full tickets see www.hockeydadband.com

FRIDAY 9 APRIL 2021 – BIG TOP LUNA PARK, SYDNEY SOLD OUT
SATURDAY 10 APRIL 2021 – FORTITUDE MUSIC HALL, BRISBANE
FRIDAY 16 APRIL 2021 – METROPOLIS, FREMANTLE
THURSDAY 22 APRIL 2021 – THEBARTON THEATRE, ADELAIDE
SATURDAY 24 APRIL 2021 – THE FORUM, MELBOURNE SOLD OUT


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With thanks to Six Boroughs Media

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