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The Zambonis

Five Minute Major (in D Minor)

(Blue Line; US: 14 Feb 2012; UK: import)

The Zambonis latest hockey-themed record, Five Minute Major (in D Minor), proves the band perfect for parties. Over the album’s 15 tracks, the Zambonis jump from genre to genre with surprising ease, proving them a band that can bring much more than sports-related novelty to the table. From the alt-country sway of “Captain” to the sunny pop of “Wild Hockey Weekend (It’s a Wild Weekend)” to the surf-rock of “I Got a Concussion (When I Fell For You)” to the lounge piano of “Happy When We’re Winning”, the band shows an impressive ability to change sounds with smart musicianship and a deep understanding of the genre conventions they take on. And the songs are often charming in their humor, and the genuine glee they get in delivering another set of tunes about hockey comes across well. But, well, they are still songs about hockey, so while the sounds change often the theme never does, and the joke wears itself out. The Zambonis are funny enough and they are a great rock band. It’s just too bad they see themselves in that order, and focus so heavily on the former, because the latter is where this album succeeds.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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