I’m sitting here in my little computer room in Northern California listening to one of the catchiest bands in the universe and wondering why they aren’t bigger than Jesus.
That not very clever Beatles reference was totally intentional because, you see, the 4 Canucks in the band Sloan are amazing musicians. I’m not delusional (enough) to dare to compare them to the 4 geniuses in that other band because that would be futile and more than a little ignorant. But I will say that Sloan is one of the great bands to come out of North America in the last 25 years, without question.
As most of you will already know I am a huge sucker for a good power pop hook, and believe me when I say that virtually every single album these Hosers from Nova Scotia have released since their inception in 1993 have contained more than their fare share of pop nugget goodness. Take the melodies of McCartney and Lennon, the guitars of Big Star (and sometimes AC/DC!) and the energy and enthusiasm of the Raspberries and you’re starting to get the idea. Each one of the four band members composes, performs and sings on each album and each has a distinct style that keeps things fresh from album to album. The lazy Pitchforkian criticism for a band as consistently good as Sloan is that the albums sound kind of similar. It’s the same criticism thrust upon other great bands that parlay in the powerpop of yesteryear, such as Teenage Fanclub and Fountains of Wayne.
I’m here to tell you categorically that that is not the case. An album as excellent as the hilariously titled, 30 song “Never Hear the End of It” can be a little overwhelming taken in one large gulp, but judge each track on it’s own merit and you can clearly see the differentiation and originality.
Not all their albums are equal. The band was a little confused when their released their debut during the ascension of Grunge, and it suffers for it. 2001’s Pretty Together finds the band in a bit of a creative holding pattern and no new ground is broken. But they bounced right back into relevancy with the terrific Action Pact. Devoid of keyboards, this is an album that focuses on “The Almighty Riff”, but never sacrifices the melody. I don’t think this band could write a song that didn’t immediately stick in your head for days on end.
Buy the following albums, immediately, in this order: