Sloan


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Smeared , 6.5/10
Twice Removed, 5/10
One Chord To Another (The Enclave, 1997), 6.5/10
Navy Blues, 5.5/10
Between The Bridges, 4.5/10
Pretty Together , 4/10
Action Pact (2003), 4/10
Never Hear The End Of It (2007) , 6/10
Parallel Play (2008), 5.5/10
The Double Cross (2011), 5/10
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Gli Sloan vennero formati a Halifax, in Nova Scotia (Canada), e presto divennero gli animatori di una delle scene piu` floride del Canada. Il loro sound, fin troppo conscio del rock alterantivo statunitense di quegli anni, impresse una svolta determinante sui loro compatrioti. L'EP Peppermint (Murderrecords, 1992) rivelo` in Jay Ferguson e Chris Murphy due artigiani del rumore e della melodia (Underwhelmed, Sugartune).

Smeared (DGC, 1993 - Koch, 2005) assorbe le influenze di My Bloody Valentine (I Am The Center), Nirvana (What's There To Decide) e Sonic Youth (500 Up, Lemonzinger) e ottiene un ibrido suggestivo, anche se un po' epigonico, dello spirito dei tempi.

Twice Removed (DGC, 1994 - Koch, 2005) semplifica l'equazione, accentuando le variabili Raspberries e Big Star e attenuando quelle noise-rock. Gli arrangiamenti e le armonie piu` curati di Penpals, Bells On e Snowsuit Sound propongono un retro-pop appena piu` originale di quello britannico. Il singolo Same Old Flame/ Stood Up (1995) mette fine alla prima fase della loro storia, prima che si trasformino in revivalisti di lusso.

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Sloan returned with the nostalgic One Chord To Another (Murderecords, 1996), an endless parade of catchy refrains inspired by the Sixties. The Good In Everyone apes the bubblegum era of the Monkees but with an evil garage-rock edge, and G Turns To D dives into a relentless rock'n'roll. At the same time, Autobiography has the quietly solemn soulfulness of John Lennon's ballads, while Junion Panthers borrows the tinkling organ and ethereal harmonies of the Beach Boys. The beat and the vocals of Take The Bench are reminiscent of the Turtles, while the exuberant horn fanfare of Everything You've Done Wrong evokes the soul groups of Tamla Motown. The Lines You Amend displays a rootsy rhythm a` la Creedence Clearwater Revival, while Take the Bench boasts blues-rock riffs a` la Free. The number of implicit quotations is overwhelming. The album is de facto a tribute to the Sixties.

Therefore it didn't come as a complete surprise that Navy Blues (Murderrecords, 1998 - Koch, 2005) became their best-seller. However, the songs sounded a lot less brilliant and spontaneous. C'mon C'mon, Chester the Molester, Supposed They Close the Door, I Wanna Thank You (that apes the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby) attempt the same affectionate revisitation of Sixties stereotypes that succeeded on One Chord To Another but sound only derivative if not aimless. The more sophisticated arrangements do not benefit the mission. The new element is represented by hard-rock detours that homage the Stooges (Iggy and Angus), AC/DC (Money City Maniacs) and Kiss (She Says What She Means).

After the live 4 Nights At The Palais Royale (1999), Sloan released Between The Bridges (Murderrecords, 1999), another cynical melodic exploitation. However, the facile Losing California and The N.S. are now little more than generic supermarket muzak.

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The decline of Sloan continues with their worst album ever, Pretty Together (Murderecords, 2001), despite a couple of interesting songs (If It Feels Good Do It, The Other Man). Ditto for Action Pact (Vik, 2003 - Koch, 2004).

A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005 (Koch, 2005) collects their singles.

When the band was considered all but finished, they returned with the thirty-song pop behemoth Never Hear The End Of It (Yep Roc, 2006). Because all four voices contributed to the songwriting, this eclectic collection was hailed as their equivalent of the Beatles' White Album. Luckily, little in the music harked back to the Beatles. Some of the creations ranked in fact among their most intriguing intuitions ever, starting with the surreal overture Flying High Again and the slow pounding rockabilly of Who Taught You to Live Like That (one of the peaks of their revivalist career). Denser arrangements helped propel the the distorted psychedelic rave-up of I've Gotta Try, the cabarettish albeit loping Before the End of the Race, the anthemic punk-rock of HFXNSHC, the Rolling Stones-ian blues-rock of Ill Placed Trust, the Cheap Trick-ian power-pop of Living with the Masses. At the same time, the dreamy Listen to the Radio, the John Lennon-ian ballad Fading into Obscurity, the suave Byrds-ian harmonies of I Know You flow amid echoes of Merseybeat, folk-rock and surf music. Many of the songs last less than two minutes, as if to signal that the band is fully aware of not being original. In fact the longer songs are often the least appealing (like the overlong I Understand and Live the Life You're Dreaming Of). Removing the filler would have left a breezy and entertaining mini-album.

By contrast, Parallel Play (Yep Roc, 2008) was a brief, compact collection but the material was generally inferior despite Pentland's Believe in Me, Ferguson's Witch's Wand, Chris Murphy's Living the Dream Andrew Scott's Emergency 911.

The Double Cross (Yep Roc, 2011) boasted the usual dose of middle-of-the-road power-pop, although only one leans towards the Kinks-ian side of the equation (Patrick Petland's Unkind), whereas most of the others are sub-Beatles singalongs (Jay Ferguson's The Answer was You, Murphy's Your Daddy Will Do, Ferguson's Beverly Terrace and Chris Murphy's Follow The Leader). The album is brief, but it should have been even briefer.

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