Wow, I really, really thought I had heard this record before. Sure, I know the hits, but I seem to know some of the deep cuts too, and I can’t figure out why since there was no review. Anyway…
I see people saying this is Sloan’s most “alternative” album and other people saying this is Sloan’s most transparent attempt to sound like the past (specifically the Beatles). I’m not sure that both can be true, but maybe they can. I haven’t listened to enough Sloan albums to comment on that either way. But including crowd noise on the “The Good in Everyone” does feel like a pretty transparent attempt to let you know they have some pretty big fans and you should be in on them even though their label dropped them. (They likely made the decision before their label dropped them. Still amusing.)
This is a pretty good set of songs for them. I’m not sure it’s quite up to Twice Removed in terms of depth of quality but it does have two of their three biggest hits so at least at the top end it stands with their best work.
This is a genre I do not like, particularly, but Sloan know what they are doing. They have a fair amount of muscle for a ’90s pop band. That’s particularly true live but it’s apparent on the harder songs here. For me muscle is always one of the keys to success for power pop. Another is variation and there is more here than you might expect. (The horns help.)
The sound of the record is great – it still sounds clear and timeless 25 years later. There’s no indication it was made in 1996 and I think that’s a major asset. (There is the odd production trick that sounds like it recalls another time, but they don’t do it very often.)
It’s been a really long time since I’ve listened to either of the other Sloan records I’ve heard, but this one is probably their 2nd or 3rd best (based mostly on which albums the hits come from, which is lazy of me).