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Hockey Night 

Keep Guessin'

Wednesday, Sep 14 2005
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The best Pavement rip-off this year isn't Steve Malkmus' latest solo effort. Instead, the honor goes to Hockey Night, a New York-via-Minneapolis collective. The quartet's sophomore release has all the markings of Sacto's favorite sons: the serpentine song structures, the epic fuzzy-guitar hooks, the sensual, mildly haughty vocals. And then there are the lyrics, which scratch meaning from non sequiturs ("History has been repeated/ Idealistic minds defeated"), pig-piling summertime poetry like Westerberg aping early Springsteen ("All the clean creepy teens slip off their jeans and get in the water"). Even on pretty ballads like "This Peaceful Year," the songs brim with bountiful energy, as if the guitars might rise up and burst free at any time, the players' exuberance too much to contain. In a time when rock seems to be overly studied (the Killers, Interpol) or hopelessly melodramatic (My Chemical Romance, Green Day), Hockey Night offers a heartfelt, clever, euphoric alternative. Just like Pavement used to.

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Dan Strachota

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