Wednesday, April 10, 2002

I wrote this review for Beat Magazine.

Pretty Together

Right now, Sloan could be one of the best live bands in the world. Those who were lucky enough to see these super talented, good lookin’ and tea totallin’ Canadians when they visited in 1999 would mostly agree. To get an almost full Prince Of Wales (hotel, not the mourning English chap) singing along to a song they have never heard before is heresy in the current must-not-smile-and enjoy-ourselves-or-admit-to-loving-rock-just-keep-the-marketing-machine-rolling-smoothly era.

Back then they were touring with the amazing album, Between The Bridges. That record was a slow burner, so slow that in an interview I gave one of the poor members a grilling over the phone accusing them of the weird and made-up crime of being “very medium”. Imagine my embarrassment when, by the time Sloan were in Melbourne I had to recant and admit that I had made a stupidly ambit claim. This brings us to the new record, Pretty Together. This time I can’t make the same mistake. You see, local record company reason saw fit not to release Pretty Together until now, when for everywhere else in the world, the album came out around November last year. I payed around $17 million for it on import at the time, played it to death for a month and found I didn’t like it much. Yes, for the same reasons as their previous record. Today I turn it on and, what the fuck was I thinking, this is an awesome record. Last year, The Life Of A Working Girl seemed creepy and inept, now I get it, it’s and pretty and obscure love song. With the backward guitar sweep in the background, it’s supposed to be creepy. Never Seeing The Ground For The Sky is a belter. Get the lyric sheet out and scream along. It’s In Your Eye is classic Sloan, combining a belting rhythm, subtle three part harmonies and superbly dumb lyrics, “You’re so crazy, crazy for me and I don’t know why, yeah I don’t know why,” while album opener If It Feels Good Do It is just big, dumb and delicious rock. And check this out, Pick It Up And Dial is a rock’n’roll infomercial with Gene Simmons like screams of “People people. This is a poll. Are you one of the ones who went and gave up on rock’n’roll?” Dicky? Yes. Brilliant? Indeed.

So, there you go. After over four months I’ve come around to loving this new Sloan album. It’s almost perfect and I only realise when I was singing along with In The Movies in the shower this morning. Only goes to prove one thing, familiarity does breed content.

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