With its eighth studio album, Sloan has put together a 30-song, 76-minute opus that should please longtime fans while providing more catchy, interesting rock that should be hits but most likely won’t be. The Canadian power-pop quartet is coming off a couple of uneven albums, the last of which, 2003’s Action Pact, was a bit overproduced. This time around Sloan went back to basics, which meant all four singer-songwriting members contributed material, including drummer Andrew Scott, whose wry, mid-tempo songs provide a nice counterpoint to the pure pop confections created by bassist Chris Murphy and guitarist Jay Ferguson and the riff rockers from guitarist Patrick Pentland.
The songs vary in length from 52 seconds to 5:28, but most are in the one- to two-minute range and each song runs into the next, as was the case on 1999’s excellent Between the Bridges. Relentlessly catchy, Never Hear the End of It is a tour de force, highlighting the band’s strengths: killer hooks, perfect harmonies and intelligent lyrics. There’s a lot to love about this album, but standouts include Pentland’s “Ill Placed Trust” and “I Understand,” Ferguson’s “Who Taught You to Live Like That?” and “Can’t You Figure It Out?,” Murphy’s “Fading Into Obscurity” and “Set In Motion” and Scott’s “Blackout” and “I Know You.”
Unfortunately, Never Hear the End of It isn’t easy to get a hold of in the U.S. Dropped by Koch Records after last year’s greatest hits collection A-Sides Win, Sloan released the new album in Canada on Sept. 26 on Sony BMG; it’s also available through MapleMusic.com. In the U.S., the album will be released on January 9 on Yep Roc. -- Jay Kumar
[Buy Never Hear The End Of It from MapleMusic.com here]
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