Sloan - Steady Music Album Reviews

Sloan - Steady Music Album Reviews
On their 13th album, the Canadian indie lifers play to their strengths with classic rock worship and power-pop hooks.

Since signing to Geffen at the apex of the grunge explosion, Sloan have succeeded at writing timeless songs that don’t sound “hysterically 1993 twenty years later.” They’ve occasionally tweaked the formula—like the 30 short songs of Never Hear the End of It, or their tributes to hardcore—but on Steady, their 13th album, the Halifax-born, Toronto-based quartet play to their strengths, returning to a seemingly bottomless well of power-pop hooks and unabashed classic rock worship. With the variation provided by four primary songwriters, Sloan reign in the frills and achieve an unlikely accomplishment for a veteran band: aging gracefully.

Before they settled on the name 12, Sloan’s previous album had the working title Essential Services. Its concept of reaching into the vault to rework old ideas with fresh ears resulted in songs like the Smeared-inspired shoegaze of “The Day Will Be Mine” and the self-referencing “Don’t Stop (If It Feels Good Do It).” Focusing on the core of their sound was a step in the right direction, but it occasionally felt like staring into the rearview mirror. The sound of Steady is no less nostalgic, but its lyrics about COVID masks and fossil fuel dependency keep these songs painfully set in the present.

Bassist Chris Murphy has written many of Sloan’s most enduring hits, and he takes the MVP title with four songs on Steady. His love of the Beatles flows through the Lennon-esque piano pop of “Human Nature,” with lyrics about how being infamous is better than being ignored, and the jaunty bounce of “I Dream of Sleep,” an exhausted response to “I’m Only Sleeping.” Guitarist Jay Ferguson shares a love of retro rock with the softest touch of the group, packing his songs with handclaps, tambourines, and sweet vocal harmonies. Midway through Steady’s “Dream It All Over Again,” he describes the band’s core ethos: “If you wait a while/Then we’ll be back in style.”

Drummer Andrew Scott is Sloan’s George Harrison—the soulful outlier who quietly makes the most interesting artistic choices. His song “Panic on Runnymede” is a case in point: No one besides him would choose to interrupt its hazy groove with the sound of barking dogs. The cooing sunshine pop of “Close Encounters” is relatively straightforward by comparison, but Scott’s politically incisive lyrics contrast the song’s laidback melody: “It’s so depressingly sad/How held hostage we are/By the wifi bars/And all the gas in our cars.” In an album full of diaristic songs from four middle-aged dad rockers, Scott’s contributions still feel the sharpest.

Guitarist Patrick Pentland has always excelled at writing Sloan’s biggest, catchiest singles, tailor-made for a beer commercial or hockey arena. He continues with “Scratch the Surface,” a song about finding solace from existential dread through “peace and love, liquor and drugs.” (It’s not the first time he’s referenced Iggy Pop.) Pentland’s other two songs for Steady were written in the wake of a divorce, with musical responses on opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum. “Spend the Day” escapes into the man cave of his mind with bombastic drum fills and a soaring guitar solo. “Simply Leaving” is one of the saddest songs he’s ever written, gingerly pushed forward by the “Be My Baby” beat—musical shorthand for epic melancholy.

From their second album, 1994’s Twice Removed, onwards, Sloan decided to move past the My Bloody Valentine influences of their debut, “so that you wouldn't know what year it was from.” On Steady, they accept their position as indie-rock elder statesmen. Without Murphy’s sardonic humor, Ferguson’s power-pop wimpiness, Scott’s psychedelic odysseys, and Pentland’s rock anthems, they wouldn’t be Sloan—and thankfully, they’re not trying to be anything else.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sloan - Steady Music Album Reviews Sloan - Steady Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 01, 2022 Rating: 5


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