Right off the top, here’s my bias: I love Sloan. LOVE. Have for years, since catching them live for Twice Removed introduced me to their entrancing hook laden-harmony-pop-rock genius. And yes, that is some time ago, now. I sincerely thank Leslie, the Condom Queen, for begging me to go to that show.
And now, the review:
Hard to believe, but this is indeed Sloan’s 20th year. The Double Cross. XX in roman numerals is twenty. Get it? Of course you do. They’re so clever! And they always have been. One of the hallmarks of Sloan’s music has not only been their incredible musicality, but their wit and charm and ingenious word play, coupled with killer riffs and all of their influences worn proudly on their sleeves. It’s what we’ve come to expect, and Sloan never disappoints.
The Double Cross is simply incredible, a short, sharp shock of pop rock. At high volume through good headphones, it is sheer brilliance. It sounds like a band twenty years in, still riding their unending peak, and yet also somehow feeling that giddy tingle of putting together their first record, all at the same time. All of the elements are here. The fist-pumping rawk riffs sure to drive the crowd nuts in a live setting, the delicious pop hooks that happily get stuck in your head, the tight choreography of instruments, that Sloan knack for writing lyrics that fit every song perfectly.
Everything is where it should be. Most of the songs are shorter, faster, and with the elimination of space between tracks a la Never Hear The End Of It (my hands-down album of the year for 2006), the album feels like a cohesive piece while still letting each piece stand strong its own.
The tracks that give me hope for the future of Sloan (as if it was ever in doubt), are It’s Plain To See and I’ve Gotta Know. It’s this kind of energy, even at this stage in the career, that tells me that this band could do this forever. And they should. Please guys, do this forever. We’ll be right there with you.
PS Throw in the fact that I got my copy of this record through Maple, which is signed by the whole band, and we have a front-runner for this being my album of the year for 2011. And it’s only May!