Sloan - 12 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sloan - 12

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-04-06
Sloan - 12
Sloan - 12

Yes, 12 in the title of the new album from one of Canada’s favourite bands does stand for the fact that this is the twelfth album Patrick Pentland, Chris Murphy, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott made together. It is certainly a rare occasion that a rock band anywhere these days has not only stayed together but, remained in the same lineup from its inception. And it shows.

Eighteen years on, as far as Sloan are concerned, the only things that seem to have changed is the fact that if you look at the album covers, the hair of some members heads has gone seriously grey. And the fact that their brand of seriously infectious, sophisticated power pop hasn’t lost any of its potent qualities. Oh, and they still haven’t made any serious breakthroughs outside of Canada as far as any wider acceptance is concerned. Critics excluded.

At the time Sloan started out, their then US record company didn’t see many reasons to push them - but then it was Grunge season, and maybe they were seen as some kind of competition to their American counterparts. Then again, Sloan was no grunge band. Sure, they knew how to turn the volume up on their guitars, but with them, it is a more thought-out process, where melody and vocal harmonies had an equal part to play, and rhythmic and melodic changes never lagged behind.

So what has changed on 12? Luckily, nothing, really. The songs, singing, playing are, again and again, stellar. The songwriting on the album, as on Commonwealth their previous outing, is again equally split among the four band members, but this time around, it is not a double, but a ‘standard’ single unit. Maybe the idea was that in such a manner it would be easier to take on.

Personally, it doesn’t make a difference, but it still sounds as a unified whole, and although the songwriting was split among the members, you can feel that if you woke up these guys in the middle of the night during the studio sessions, they would know exactly what each of them needs to add to every song. Musical quality was never Sloan’s problem. Take a listen to “Gone for Good” or “The Day Will Be Mine”, or any other track on the album for that matter, and you get the sense that these guys can come up with some exquisite melodies, vocals, and musicianship. Simply, Sloan could be one of the most accomplished power pop bands around.

So, what’s the problem? I’ve no idea. It could be that power pop is not in the vogue, but if you take into consideration some of their younger counterparts like Lemon Twigs, maybe not. Maybe they just missed their moment back in the Nineties. On the evidence of 12, it is quite a shame, because Sloan is still a joy to listen to. If not 12, maybe thirteen will be their lucky number. They deserve it.

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