Ac­tion packed

Sloan’s new dou­ble al­bum gives each mem­ber a side in the spot­light

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Nick Patch

TORONTO — The new Sloan record, Com­mon­wealth, dis­tin­guishes it­self in many ways: it’s a dou­ble al­bum; it’s di­vided into four sides, each a solo showcase for one of the quar­tet’s cre­ative en­gines; and the fi­nal song is 18 min­utes long, an An­drew Scott-penned marathon of su­per­glued song sketches. De­spite all that, the new Sloan record sounds like a Sloan record. Of course, that can be said of pretty much ev­ery­thing in their cat­a­logue since their ado­les­cent (if au­da­cious) de­but record­ings Pep­per­mint and Smeared came out in 1992. Lit­tle that they’ve done since 1994’s Twice Re­moved has sounded much like what was go­ing on in rock mu­sic, but it’s all sounded of a piece: sure-footed, pol­ished power pop. “From our sec­ond record on, it’s like, what year is that, 1981? Or 1965? Or 2008?” points out Chris Murphy re­cently at Toronto’s Glad­stone Ho­tel, with band­mates Scott, Jay Fer­gu­son and Pa­trick Pent­land. “A lot of the songs — I don’t know about all of them — could be on any of the records. It’s fairly in­ter­change­able…. I could prob­a­bly take all the songs that we have, which is 200 of them, and I could prob­a­bly cre­ate al­bums out of (them) with dif­fer­ent sounds or some­thing.”

“It’s odd, be­cause... in a weird way, you’re kind of com­par­ing us to AC/ DC or some­thing, where ev­ery record sounds the same. And you’re prob­a­bly right,” says Pent­land. “But it’s four AC/ DCs, be­cause we’re all do­ing our own sound through­out it. The process hasn’t changed much, ei­ther. Even as Com­mon­wealth boasts its “four solo records” con­ceit, Murphy stresses that the only real dif­fer­ence was the track se­quenc­ing. The four mem­bers worked largely in iso­la­tion on writ­ing their songs, but that’s what they’ve al­ways done — any de­vi­a­tions from the for­mula were fleet­ing. “When we recorded our al­bum Ac­tion Pact,” be­gins Murphy, tak­ing aim at the band’s 2003 record, one of only two in the band’s discog­ra­phy that failed to chart in Canada, “we had a pro­ducer (Tom Rothrock), which we usu­ally don’t have, and he was re­ally into this idea of us record­ing ev­ery­thing to­gether.


From left, Emily Barker, Erica Wilson and Matthew Irvine in a scene from Giv­ing Voice.

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