Their name sounds like an embarrassing fancy dress costume, their members look like teenage troublemakers, and their latest artwork features a completely nude youngster.
However, despite the first impression, there’s a lot more to Hockey Dad than one might think. Touring with DZ Deathrays, performing at the acclaimed Falls Festival and copping rotations on FBi Radio, triple J and some serious US airtime are just some of the achievements these young guns have copped over the past few years.
It’s finally here! Hockey Dad’s debut LP Boronia is all that fans have hoped for: a 40 minute surf holiday, soaked in unmistakeable Aussie style.
Billy Fleming and Zach Stephenson have effectively been catapulted out of their beloved hometown and onto stages all over Australia, which is a rather huge feat for a couple of lads from Wollongong, especially with nothing more than a collection of singles and a lone EP to thank.
Well, nothing more until now, that is.
Bringing together a collection of early favourites, recent singles and completely new tracks, while simultaneously collaborating with musical genius Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads) and mixing whizz Wade Keighran (The Scare, Wolf & Cub), the lads were able to rest assured that their biggest release yet would be a solid one.
The record kicks off with the festival-ready jam We Can’t Have This, which would’ve slotted right into an afternoon slot at the late Big Day Out. Zach’s drawn out vocals combine with Billy’s fast-paced drum rhythms to establish a feel good chorus, as the lyrical element pushes back against the notion of temporary love, requesting that women “stop wasting [their] time”, revealing some worldly wisdom behind the duo’s youthful exteriors.
Boronia goes on to lyrically travel in many directions, discussing love, surfing and brotherhood (is there really anything else?), all while providing some solid justice for the genre of Aussie pop punk.
The album stylistically vomits summer all throughout, temporarily placing the listener in the life of a teenager on a seemingly endless vacation, even if it only lasts for the 40 odd minutes of the LP’s duration.
At one point in the record, Hockey Dad are hoping to find love, claiming in I Need a Woman that if they “give it time she’ll be all mine” because “I need woman in my life”, which earlier on temporarily sounds like it may have burst into a Blink-182-esque anthem.
Yet later on, Stephenson takes a page from Sam Smith’s book in A Night Out With, singing that his woman is “going way too fast, but it was never a race” even though he’s “reaching out to lover [her]”, clearly preferable of a deeper relationship over a night of meaningless sex.
The LP begins to conclude with Two Forever, covering the all-important topic of bromance, particularly between the lads themselves. The track lyrically demonstrates that while Billy and Zac have matured considerably from the days of jamming in each other’s garages.
They still put their friendship first, singing that “you’ll always be a friend of mine … I don’t need love … Coz I got you man”.
Grange then sees the duo take a victory lap, high-fiving the whole way, featuring minimal singing yet maximal playing. Fleming finds his stylistic peak here, drumming hard, fast, and tight for much of the 5-minute runtime alongside his band mate’s varied guitar patterns. The song contrasts many of the surf-rock outfit’s previous works, potentially clueing towards a new direction for the future of their sound.
What we know for sure is that Boronia is an excellent record and another gold star for the Australian music industry. It holds it’s own as sufficient to send the talented lads straight back onto the tour route, first with the indie rockin’ Jungle Giants throughout the homeland, then straight over to the states to take their sound worldwide.
All-in-all the album leaves listeners and fans alike feeling satisfied with Hockey Dad’s first full-length effort, however it won’t be long before the people are craving more, and when that second LP comes, we’d better hope our ears are ready.