Monday, December 17, 2007


Image:Sloan never hear the end of it.jpg

Never Hear The End Of It
(Yep Roc)

The album is dead. And in response to the short attention spans of listeners, musicians have become focused on singles. After all, it would make more sense for a songwriter to compose a few $0.99-worthy songs for the kids and their itchy iTunes fingers than to exhaust creative energy in making a cohesive unit.

However, the obstinate musician such as the four gents in the Canadian band Sloan aren't interested in hits, singles, and chart-toppers. That much is apparent. Chris Murphy, Jay Ferguson, Patrick Pentland, and Andrew Scott have been around the rock block so many times since their 1991 formation that they must feel numb to the enticement of mainstream acceptance. And so the contrarily and aging indie rockers pulled a what's-that-aboot? by releasing their eighth album Never Hear The End Of It complete with 30-songs clocking in at a hefty 76 minutes. What's rumored to have been potential material for four separate solo records (every band member is a songwriter) could have resulted in a disjointed mess; instead Sloan's latest flows seamlessly, every track connects to one another without once resorting to a fade-out, 30 songs like interlocked hands.

Granted not every one here is a memorable winner--at an hour and a quarter's length, how could it be flawless?--but the overall album is a whiplash pop ride mixing one-minute punk anthems (""HFXNSHC") and soft-rock nostalgia ("Listen to the Radio" ) with carefree clap-alongs ("I Understand," "Who Taught You To Live Like That?") and autobiographical rock sophistication ("Fading Into Obscurity" ). Frankly, it's the very existence of Never Hear The End Of It that makes it such a worthy entry in this year's top ten. Here's a band that's perfected a certain style of power pop and rather than churn out another satisfactory and accessible pleasure, they've challenged their small-yet-obsessive fan base by crafting a joyful abundance. And fourteen-years in, that's commendable.

It's possible that you've never heard of Sloan. This is because Sloan is way more successful in Canada than they will ever be in the States. Although the mediocrity of the quartet's two albums past even tested the seemingly eternal patience of our northern neighbors. And while the welcome return of Never Hear The End Of It won't make them American contenders--that opportunity is long gone-- it will re-annoint these unassuming dudes as rock royalty, albeit across the border.

"Flying High Again"

Never Hear The End Of It Documentary

"I've Gotta Try"


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