Still Feeling Good
In their 27 years as a band, Sloan have steadily released new albums — and some are better than others — but their overall contribution is greater than they often get credit for. Since the millennium hit, they’ve inexplicably become underdogs, or even a cult band, in their home country. This 12th studio album is just the one to spark a reappraisal of their catalogue. Following the novel concept of 2014’s Commonwealth, 12 is arguably the most well-rounded album they’ve made since 1999’s underrated Between the Bridges. Each of the band’s four songwriters has three cuts each — a trait they’re frequently celebrated for — however, these songs just seem to sparkle brighter and gel together better than the Sloan albums from this century. Lead track and single “Spin Our Wheels” is a textbook radio-friendly rocker featuring a soaring chorus by Chris Murphy, who returns later on for the sanguine, self-referencing “Don’t Stop (If It Feels Good Do It).” Patrick Pentland unabashedly throws back to the band’s early days, channelling Smeared’s overdrive-happy guitars on “The Day Will Be Mine” and even Nirvana on “All of the Voices.” Meanwhile, Jay Ferguson presents a trifecta of perfect, ’60s soft pop homage, and Andrew Scott is in full Dylan-esque mode. 12 is a solid reminder that they’ve been pretty together all these years, as well as an ideal starting point should you feel like revisiting albums you missed. (Murderecords/Universal)
All four members have contributed equally for 27 years. Is that something you take to heart?
Pentland: By virtue of the fact that it’s hard to keep a band together, let alone a band of four songwriters together, I guess that can be seen as an achievement, sure. I don’t know of too many bands that have all the original members 20-something years into their career.
In terms of writing, what’s expected from each of you?
We don’t all do the same thing. I would love to sit down and say, “Hey, let’s do an all-acoustic record” or “Let’s do an all-synth record,” but we don’t do that. It’s kind of up to the individual what he will bring to the table. Maybe we were just more interested in making an album that we could perform live.