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Black Pool – We The Living

I found this CD whilst digging through the bins in one of Toronto’s coolest record shops, this week. Now, being a humungous Sloan fan, this is an amazing find! Yay me!

I’m writing this on my second time through the CD, and it’s pretty damn amazing, especially if you turn the volume way up. I always say that, don’t I? Hm.

Anyway, this is kind of like Neil Young, Skydiggers, Blue Rodeo, Grapes Of Wrath, Spirit Of The West, Watchemen and Tragically Hip, but then not at all really, either. Helpful, I know. iTunes called it Folk when it was finding the track names in the database, but I don’t hear much of what I’d call folk music.

But there’s a distinct ‘Canadian Sound’ present here, a bluesy twang borne of this style of country-rock that brings to mind long stretches of open highway as natural splendor and wide blue skies roll past, and as the endless yellow lines get eaten by the hood the car.

The songs are superbly-crafted and interesting throughout, the perfect accompaniment to a late afternoon spent skipping school, shooting pool and trying to be cool. And I say that being at least 15 years out of school, myself. In 1990, though, this would have surely been a hit with me. And today? It’s still completely awesome, but now I’d call it road-trip or drinking music, pure and simple. Excellent tunes for Canada’s gigantic empty spaces between places or backyard campfire parties.

I’ve had a good look at this CD, found on Justin Entertainment in 1991 (recorded in Halifax in 1990, #JED 10), so this must have been released right around the time that Sloan was meeting/getting started. While Chris Murphy’s is the only name I recognize here, I’m admittedly not a complete aficionado on the east coast music scene of the early 90’s, although I am working on it.

There’s no way at all to predict the Peppermint EP or Smeared from this set, but that’s OK. In fact, it’s very refreshing. Hearing part of the roots of one of the members of one of your favourite bands of all time is always instructive and fascinating.

If you can find a copy for yourself, I’d highly recommend it. I get the feeling that I’m pretty lucky that this copy washed up on my shores, as online searching of the usual sources found nothing. I wish you luck in locating your copy. You’ll need this great record for your collection, definitely.

Track Listing:
01 Days And Days
02 Between The Tracks
03 Photographs
04 Graveyard Stones
05 A Man On Pier 21
06 Queen Street
07 We The Living
08 Was Lazarus Content?
09 Down To The River
10 Rave On

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