Hockey Night â€“ Keep Guessinâ€™ / 2005 Lookout / 11 Tracks / http://www.hockeynightmusic.com / http://www.lookoutrecords.com/hockeynight / Reviewed 15 August 2005
Starting out â€œKeep Guessinâ€™â€ with â€œGet Realâ€, Hockey Night show their ability to move beyond the pop perfection created by bands like Weezer and The Bravery and make something even more addictive. Instead of simply being pushe forward with a simplistic, driving beat Hockey Night allow a little bit of trepidation to insinuate itself into the disc; what makes â€œGet Realâ€ such an intelligent track is the present of a whole host of things, most important of which is the multiple-harmonies achieved of the band. Particularly interesting during the lead-out to â€œGet Realâ€ is the slacker-like way in which Hockey Night takes on Modest Mouse â€“ the â€œall rightâ€ repeated by both vocalists has more than a passing similarity to Modest Mouseâ€™s hit â€œFloat Onâ€.
The punk tempo of â€œFor Guysâ€™ Eyes Onlyâ€ is bolstered by the bandâ€™s disregard for every-day time signatures and song structure; whether it is the rambling thoughts espoused lyrically or the break-down of any structure, Hockey Night make a pop-filled track something that even the most jaded audiophile can appreciate. The brooding style that Hockey Night uses for â€œSunset Eyesâ€ pushes the patience of the listener for two major reason: first off, the arrangement is too disjointed to really connect well, and when the track does tend to soar (the seventies-influenced guitar/theramin-sounding solo), the length in which it does is much too short to turn the track around.
The bandâ€™s bread and butter has to be tracks like â€œSaturday Night Gallopâ€, in which the band find itself straddling two very different decades of music. The early-nineties alternative influence is something that cannot be ignored (especially in Paulâ€™s vocals) , but equally prevalent on â€œKeep Guessinâ€™sâ€ forty-plus minutes of music is the seventies-rock (Styx, Kansas, UFO, Steve Miller Band) that is showcased by the rich guitar work present. â€œThis Peaceful Yearâ€ is a watershed track for Hockey Night; incorporating a flute-led atmosphere and gloomy chorus to their general sound, what was so up-beat and positive is show to just as quickly become full of longing and emotionally intense. The AOR that is present even on the later tracks of this CD, specifically â€œCooperationâ€ will bring people fully back to the country-fried rock of the era while without any of the irony that bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd are discussed with in the current period. A strong album that does not tie itself down to any one genre, â€œKeep Guessinâ€™â€ is the magnum opus for this near-decade old band.
Top Tracks: For Guysâ€™ Eyes Only, Get Real