Floor Hockey’s debut album “Today’s Kids,” released May 24th, cements this Lowell-based band as a member of the ex-scene kid and weepy pop punk groups emanating from Mill City. In the wake of daisybones’ local rise in popularity in 2017, Floor Hockey joins the legion of Northshore quasi-punk bands. “Today’s Kids” has a solid album structure. Their tapedeck feel, made clear with the album bookended with the under-a-minute tracks “PLAY” and “STOP”, also serves to characterize the lyrically talented and bouncy melodies of Floor Hockey’s music.
Their similar sounds and shared hometown invites some natural comparisons between Floor Hockey and the slightly more punky/fast-beat band, daisybones. In contrast and in conjunction with daisybones’ youthful, frenetic noise, Floor Hockey, in terms of narrating a coming-of-age experience, is more cinematic, more of a Richard Linklater soundtrack than daisybones’ more literary John Green sort of noise. “Ice Pick’s” lyrics encapsulate the feeling of being young and convinced that driving south on I-93 is the end-all, be-all of freedom: “Late nights on the freeway forge a feeling much like flying/It’s moments when we feel the most alive we lose our fear of dying.”
Floor Hockey’s strengths are their vocals and lyrics, though their ceaselessly boppy guitars and drums are nothing to snuff at. Worth noting is “Window Shopping,” a meandering, boppy song with genuinely clever lyrics. Another noteworthy track, “Ice Pick,” demonstrates that the band has figured out how to harmonize, which is good, as it lends that vaguely auto-tuned sound that these whiny, sad-white-boi vocalists always seem to be aiming for. Speaking of, Floor Hockey’s lead singer sounds quite a bit like fellow emo-punk singer Brian Sella, lead vocalist of New Jersey-based band The Front Bottoms, who played Boston Calling a couple years back. Both singers have that howling, near-cracking, guttural sort of voice that delivers these poetic lyrics damn near perfectly.
Purposeful or not, Floor Hockey’s brilliant lyricism captures the loving desperation of collegiate adolescence, in all its exuberance and all its sensory sentimentality. The lyrics of the bridge of “Different Reasons,” the penultimate track on the album, capture these feelings well: “I want to get all my friends together /Tell them all how I’ll love them all forever /At different times, for different reasons /But all so fiercely in their season.” Here, with these straightforward and tender lyrics, insistent drums, and plucky-as-all-heck guitar, Floor Hockey is at their best. This album sounds like coming of age in golden hour, like driving with your arms stretched to the sun, like grinning over coffee with your best friends, hungover as all hell, griping about mistakes made the night before. All in all, something worth listening to.