Despite the crowded nature of the surf rock genre, Australian band Hockey Dad is determined to make waves. With its newest single, “Good Eye,” released June 11 from delayed album Brain Candy, Hockey Dad aims to encapsulate the feel-good nature of surf rock while maintaining an effortless lightness that has been increasingly difficult to achieve in the genre.
“Good Eye” starts with a sunny, fuzzed out riff that hints at a sense of hope. The ample distortion transports listeners into a world seen through a warm filter, a summery scene unfolding.
The drums burst onto the scene a few seconds later, building up the song until all the elements come together as a flowing unit. The layering of one instrument over another gives the song necessary depth and a dynamic quality that prevents it from falling prey to monotony. Overall, the song has a satisfying, bright chord progression with twinges of seriousness, like a stern hand pulling you back to reality before you slip back into the world Hockey Dad has crafted for you.
The most curious aspect of the song, however, is the title lyric, “I got a good eye.” Intended as a proclamation of confidence and trusting one’s gut, having a “good eye” is an admirable message on the part of Hockey Dad. In a genre saturated with darker songs with negative connotations, the lyrics of “Good Eye” are an appreciated change. Hockey Dad even goes so far as to say, “Yeah I got a great eye.” Lead singer Zach Stephenson, a true crusader for trusting oneself, delivers, “Well I’ve been playing for a while/ I paid my dues, paid them all.”
“Good Eye,” to say the least, is a feel-good and catchy track. It follows the standard instrumental recipe for surf rock, and even branches out to the outskirts of surf rock’s sister, garage rock. But the recipe is tried and true, and it works in Hockey Dad’s favor. “Good Eye” doesn’t bring anything special with regards to song structure; it’s a simple song with a band-next-door aura. But what it does well is capture a breezy soulfulness.
Many surf rock songs masquerade emotionally charged lyrics and meanings behind bright guitars and upbeat drums, but “Good Eye” doesn’t hide the fact that it’s meant to uplift spirits and instill security in one’s sense of self amid mistakes and setbacks. “Good Eye” is a romp through the ups and downs of life and every magical thing in between. It’s truly a loving song through and through, one of pure happiness and contentment with life, and that is what the essence of surf rock really is — or at least should be.