Sloan Powers Back Up

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 10, 2008 5:22PM

Sloan returns with Parallel Play, their 9th studio album
Photo by Chris Butcher

It's hard to believe Sloan has been around for over 17 years. It's even harder to believe that in that time the band has released 9 studio albums, 1 live album, and zero weak albums. Sure, some discs are stronger than others, for instance even though we loved 2006's 30-track Never Hear The End Of It the disc probably could have benefited by a bit of judicious culling, but overall the band has a stunning track record for creating memorable rock and/or roll.

The band's newest album, Parallel Play, is out today and it's short, punchy, and goes straight for the sweet spot on our musical jugular. Sloan's strong point has always been having four gifted songwriters capable of employing similar aesthetics while imbuing each with their own vibrant personality, and Parallel Play is filled with A-list material from each member. A '60s / '70s sonic vibe courses underneath even when the songs jump up and down in grating punk fury, as happens on Andrew Scott's blasting "Emergency 911," a howl about what's NOT needed in a relationship. (it should be noted that each song is written by the band, but is "led" by one member or another.)

Elsewhere the harmonies are sunnier, the hooks are meatier, and even something as lyrically bittersweet as Chris Murphy's farewell to youth, "I'm Not A Kid Anymore," bounces along inducing a total foot stompin' / hand clappin' response. We dare you not to sing along before the song is even over. And this happens over and over again. "All I Am Is All You're Not" takes a shudderingly lurching verse right into a feel good course custom built for cruising beachside frontage roads in your Camaro with all the windows down. Jay Ferguson's faintly ghostly pop of "Cheap Champaign" continues his tradition of delivering the tenderness amongst the harder rockin' nuggets all around him.

And Patrick Pentland's opening "Believe" is stadium chaos begging to happen, full of long-haired girls riding their boyfriends shoulders, and high-fiving burnouts spilling their PBRs while slapping each other giddily on the back. Or, conversely and just as believably, a bunch of gyrtaing white-belted hipster hips can be seen shaking all about as guitars bop amidst rambling drums.

Now pardon us, we've got to get in our Camaro and hit the beach with this near-perfect soundtrack cranked way the fuck up.

MP3: Sloan "I'm Not A Kid Anymore"

Sloan will be in town June 23 to play Double Door, 1572 N Milwaukee, 9 p.m, 21+, $20