Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
The people that line themselves up on the latest album by Portland, Oregon's Hockey go digging. They mine into themselves to see what they've deposited. They look back over the stamps that they've collected in their passports. They read the lines in their palms and take what they're telling them much more seriously than they ever have before - believing in it more. They are finding that they're evolving along with remaining consistent to who they've always been. These are songs that burn with a form of awakening, as if these people are coming out of a long duration of time and finally becoming comfortable in the knowledge that they are who they are. It's one of those non-disruptive revelations that comes out of nowhere and you can see where you came from and you're getting a better idea of where you're headed. It feels a bit more serious and somehow still adventuresome.
Hockey lead singer Benjamin Wyeth sings on the song, "Calling Back," "All the time running around with the bears, I'm almost human," giving us the idea that there have been some shenanigans going down, that things have gotten wooly and now there's a chance that things are pulling up and out of it. There's some settling down going on. On "Thought I Was Changing," we meet a guy who believed that he was altering who he was for the longest time and at different times, but there wasn't much truth in it. He was still the same. If he's the same guy who has been running with the bears, he's still going to drawn to honey and prone to snapping when threatened. He's still probably going to take a leak and a deuce in the woods every once in a while because that's just what bears do.
These songs are beyond coming of age stories. They're much more sophisticated than that. They're the kinds of stories that detail that first part of getting old, when you finally realize that you're getting old, but you're nowhere near OLD. You're just taking those first tentative steps into that new light, when you might comment that you smell something that you think smells like the roaches burning. It's like reaching out to your personal infinity - that place up ahead and you're getting a sense of what will fall, who will stick with you and perhaps what's going to precede your final punctuation mark.