Wollongong’s musical sensation, Hockey Dad, have captivated the hearts of the rapidly growing Australian indie, surf rock community. Singer and guitarist Zach Stephenson along with his tom-tom and cymbal hitting best mate, William Fleming, throw energy and excitement into the production of their music.
They’ve got that edge that you would expect from a long haired, Australian coastal duo. If their music videos are anything to go off, you’ll find them in the swell carving up waves, dining out at the ‘Windang Fast Chicken’ or cruising the streets of the ‘Gong causing mischief. It sounds fairly stereotypical, right?
Well, that’s probably because it is. Boronia depicts exactly what you would expect from the cheeky pair. The 2016 album screams gnarly, uplifting vibes whilst providing listeners with an insight to some of the raw emotions that the duo have been through.
The album’s 11 songs revolve around the innocent pairs search for love with women that they believe are out of their league. The chorus in first song of the album titled Can’t Have Them provides the perfect entrance into their lustful pursuit.
As the title suggests, the album’s most popular song, I Need a Woman continues the theme of searching for love. The bubblegum popping claps throughout this one makes it a clear stand out for fans. The lyrics are actually quite sweet in this one too. There’s a reference to the famous love story that is Romeo & Juliet, whilst having one of my favourite lines in the album, “make her soul glow silver, just like the rings she wears”. This one will go straight to your ‘never skip’ playlist.
The second song on the album is A Night Out With, which displays the nasty side of love that often is forgotten. The opening verse illustrates the trapped feeling that is often felt whilst fighting with a partner. Lyrically, this shouldn’t be an uplifting song, but with a dynamic jangle and some radical moments of distortion throughout, this is one of the best on the album.
Maybe the culprit behind the entire album is Laura. With a few taps of the drum sticks and some powerful kicks into the base drum, you’re thrown into an absolute masterpiece. The buoyant tempo makes it near impossible to not dance along to this song. Laura follows a similar line to A Night Out With, a faster paced song but a closer look into the lyrics will leave you staring into the boys heart-ache.
By now I’m sure you’ve got the idea that these two are suck-ups, so we’ll change the pace towards my personal favourite of the album, Jump The Gun.
Hockey Dad inject the incredible feeling of a sandy, sun-soaked day at the beach straight into your blood. As a surfer who lives two and a half hours away from the closest surf beach, I find myself constantly itching to relive the feeling of a huge session in the water. Listening to this gem is the closest thing to rejuvenating that sensation.
The term ‘gun’ in surfing slang also describes a shorter surf board which is used to surf bigger waves, giving the song a hidden second meaning. Nice one fellas.
The sweetest moment in the album comes in the song Two Forever. Zach and Will have a full-on bromance moment in the heart-felt ballad that prioritises their long lasting friendship over the girls in Boronia.
Zach’s scrawny, grommy voice is on full display at the 3:18 mark as he sings, “I don’t need love, don’t need no woman, don’t need that shit, ‘cause I got you, man”. This sentimental piece shows off the genuine bond they share and you know that it is going to hold them in good stead as they continue to grow as a band.
The lads close the album with Grange, a five minute instrumental that will lose you in your own thoughts. A gentle riff is soon followed by some light cymbal taps, eventually building up into a faster beat. Soft ooh’s echo around your ears, whilst some claps drift you away.
It’s so easy to picture yourself listening to this song whilst driving down a coastal road with your best buddies. It’s a “throw your hand out the window and let it move in the wind” type of song. Sing along to the ooh’s and have a boogie. Let the music take you over. I promise that this song will leave you with a smile on your face.
It’s a perfect ending to what was a great debut album by Hockey Dad. The album incapsulates what the duo is all about. They spread happiness through uplifting vibes whilst shedding some light into their personal life.
Since Boronia, Hockey Dad have released two more albums. Blend Inn came out in 2018 with Brain Candy following in 2020. I’d highly recommend giving both of these a whirl too. Hopefully the two year pattern of new music holds true and that they release some more music this year!
Whether you’re into coastal garage music or not, I hope that you’ll be able to enjoy the album as much as I do. You’ll be able to listen to it below.