If Sloan has any goals they’ve yet to achieve, it’s due only
to the high bar they’ve set for themselves. Indeed, after their 30-song opus Never Hear the End of It, released in
2007, anything that followed might inevitably seem somewhat slight by
comparison. Nevertheless, the band didn’t accumulate a career entailing two
decades and ten albums by resting on their laurels. The Double Cross (its title refers to the Roman numerals that
designate their 20 year milestone) provides the proof, an upbeat, exhilarating
effort that sports retro rock influences and their usual vibrant sheen to boot.
Indeed, Sloan can flaunt its assets, namely its four
musicians who play equal roles in the conglomerate by all contributing songs
and singing within a seamless mix. The first three tracks segue smoothly from
one to another, and the unrelenting energy and frenetic performances that
follow ensure instant gratification. The rowdier offerings – “Follow the
Leader,” “Unkind” (a particularly harsh rebuke), “It’s Plain To See” and “I’ve
Gotta Know” — elevate the band to a higher degree of intensity, although they
also retain the pop precociousness established early on. “Beverly Terrace,” “Green
Gardens, Cold Montreal” and “Laying So Low” are earnest and elegiac, all cheery
melodies and blithe balladry emphasizing their more melodic instincts.
If nothing else, The
Double Cross confirms the fact Sloan can do no wrong. Even now, so far
along in their trajectory, there’s no sign Sloan is slowing down.
DOWNLOAD: “Laying So Low,” “Unkind,” “Follow the Leader” LEE ZIMMERMAN