The second volley from Windang, Aus’ Hockey Dad sends a vat of growth hormone raining down on the band’s sound. Not that Boronia could be accused of sounding scrappy, but everything that made that record tick is blown up to towering, shiny proportions on Blend Inn. The band is often lumped into a “Surf Rock” sound, which might have to do with their coastal town fostering a surf scene and some early videos featured the band members indulging in the waves. However, they are much more accurately embracing the axis of punk and grunge that pushed through the ‘90s, putting some meat on the bones of punk’s pogo riffs and embracing the allure of a bigger pulpit from which to hawk the resulting crunch pop. In the end, they’re about as surf as Weezer, I suppose, in that they’ve embraced some of the iconography, but not so much the ska-skiffle bounce when it comes to the fretwork.
At heart, the band is echoing traces of the mid ‘90s Fort Apache sound filtered through two or three generations of slacker pop buffer. They take some time to wind down the pace for some heartfelt swoons under the Aussie moon, finding themselves balancing the album’s sunburn grind with the requisite beer cooldown every so often, but they tend to shine brightest when the volume swells. The bigger sound feels good on them, bolstered by production from John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab), and it fits with their rise from garage-punk upstarts into a more in-demand act over the last eighteen months. Ever impressive is the band’s ability to squeeze a quartet’s worth of punch out of just two players. Their sound is never wanting, but lean, with a touch of bite.
I’d had hope with the band’s first album and they’ve lived up to any expectations placed on them for their sophomore album. Still scrappy at heart, but with a thicker sonic stew brewing here, they’re definitely working out to be contenders.
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