The Hockey Night

The Hockey Night

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The Hockey Night's debut EP borrows from all over the indie rock map. In the first song alone, the winningly schizophrenic "The Foxy Situation," Paul Sprangers and company downshift from a driving Velocity Girl riff into a Modest Mouse rhythmic pattern, and then sputter into a pretty good impression of Pavement's breezy oeuvre. As the remainder of the EP follows its course, the band takes on Guided by Voices, Built to Spill, Mark Mallman, the Promise Ring, Portastatic, and any number of indistinct yet popular emo bands of the last five years. That The Hockey Night remains an interesting pastiche of these artists' sounds is no mean feat. In spite of the implications and presumptions that are usually foisted upon such blatant displays of influence, Sprangers manages to stake a shaky claim on some pretty well traveled territory somewhere inside the 25-minute running length. The disc shows some definite promise, if not in the lovely album art, pleasant melodies, and affecting guitar playing, then in the band's ability to draw from so many different pools of music in such a short duration. What is difficult to understand, however, is why some of the best material on this EP is relegated to hidden track status when it would've been better for the record had it been worked into the standard sequencing. The Hockey Night belies a manifold range of ability and interest in sound that should serve as a sturdy base for the construction of a dynamic rock band; not bad for the first record, but the band would benefit from an ameliorated synthesis of their influences with their own sensibilities.

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