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Rockin' Our Turntable: Sloan

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 10, 2011 4:40PM

2011_05_sloan_xx.jpg Twenty years. Ten albums (not counting live albums, EPs or rarities compilations). One band. And at this point, even after they've cranked out so much material over such a long period of time, Sloan remains just as an amazingly vital and prolific a band as ever. In fact, despite the band's future seeming in doubt just a few years ago, the quartet from Halifax seems to be experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

Writing a review of a Sloan album has gown a tad formulaic over the years. One opens with the "why the hell aren't they more famous?!" question. This is usually followed by the observation that while the band's four members all share songwriting duties and have definite personal styles that define their contributions the group's catalog as a whole has an uncanny knack of holding together as a cohesive and singular voice. Then comes the inevitable judgement of the new album against previous albums, always ending with the observation that even a weak Sloan album is superior when compared to 99.9% of the rest of the current musical landscape.

And this holds true again with the group's tenth album, The Double Cross. It's twelve songs rush by in just over half an hour and not a single one feels forced or unwelcome. The rush of "Follow The Leader" opens the collection with a pounding garage vibe before expanding into a beautifully broadening chorus, repeating until the whole thing flips us into a sing-along plucked from an alternate dimension that segues into the sweet drive of the love song "The Answer Was You." The band's enormous flexibility and mastery of their own sound is already in full force and you're not even five minutes in. Elsewhere we're treated to the glam stomp of "Unkind," the pastoral "Green Gardens, Cold Montreal" and the punk grown grey gone honky tonk of "It's Plain To See." And none of that prepares you, really, for the mixture of wah guitars, disco strings, hard driving '70s rawk and Yacht Rock that all comes together seamlessly in "Your Daddy Will Do."

So the great thing about Sloan is their ability to be a dozen different bands at the same time without ever seeming gimmicky or untrue to their inner voice. In some ways they're still a bunch of teenagers full of a jillion great ideas they can't wait to get out their and they don't care if their venue is a garage or a coliseum; everything they do is still going to be filled with an excitement that's going to swell to take over the entire space. And with The Double Cross the space they occupy continues to expand and search out new avenues despite the fact that the band seems absolutely comfortable where they are.

MP3: Sloan "Follow The Leader"

Sloan plays Subterranean on May 26. We recommend you see them since their live sets are a-MAY-zing.