And The Hits Just Keep On Comin': October 2008

And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

A Music Journal Collective Effort

Monday, October 20, 2008

Parallel Play
When the boys in the band of Sloan asked their manager
‘Chip’ Sutherland if they should re-record their whole album
‘Twice Removed’ for the marketing purposes of Geffen
Records back in 1993, Chip told the boys to tell Geffen to
‘go and f**k themselves’. Chip passionately pleaded with
Sloan to follow the path of integrity and to not worry about
the specifics of what a label wanted them to be as the band
knew, full well, that they had recorded a dynamite record.
God bless the Chip Sutherlands of the world. (You can read
more about the whole story in the book ‘Have Not Been The

Fifteen years later, Sloan has never had to tow the party line
or dip into diplomacy. They have done things the way they
wanted to from the word ‘go’ and have made a watermark
career of it. Released earlier in the summer, the album
‘Parallel Play’ insists a re-visitation from both Sloan
listeners and non-listeners alike. Throughout the album,
the band veers and careens through their usual
ultra-harmonied/power-pop/arena rock antics.
Boasting a four man songwriting front to an all-out electrical
rock storm, ‘Parallel Play’ is another bright service station
along the highway of their career. The song ‘All I Am Is All
You’re Not’ displays Chris Murphy’s witty wordplay and
disdain for the music industry along with a powerful refrain
that catches a melodic snag in the fabric of the listener’s head:
We opened up the lines to first time callers
When we should have been holding the lines
I want to shout it out to long time listeners
To private conversations of mine…
All I am is all you’re not
All I want is all you’ve got

As a diametrically opposed cohort to the rebel rousing
Murphy, Jay Ferguson lights up his usual cinnamon-cigarette
pop songs that sound sweet and leave you humming all day
(‘Witches Wand’ is a great example). Patrick Pentland also
kicks track one of the album through the uprights of glory
with waves of sonic rock guitar-work in the hit single
‘Believe In Me’. Most intriguing of the four fingers, though,
is (and always has been) Andrew Scott. For Sloan fans, it is
always a hot topic to see which of the four will have the most
songs on any given record. ‘Parallel Play’ lets Andrew win
the battle with four of his raw-hearted blues-based tunes
(such as ‘Down In The Basement’ that takes us back to the
humble beginnings of the band).

More important than the music of this album, though, is
the message behind the medium; staying power speaks
volumes. At a recent live performance by Canadian Rock
gurus The Tragically Hip that my brother attended (where
Dan Aykroyd actually got up on stage and played harmonica
with them), lead singer Gord Downie stated ‘You know – it’s
no secret that we’re not the best musicians in the world. If
you write music, stick with it, stick with it, and stick with it.
If you hang around and stick with it and keep working at
the craft long enough, you just might get some notice.’ Sloan
has stuck with it and ‘Parallel Play’ is a rocked-out and
popped-out treat to the ears and the passionate listener
who longs for more than what the industry is giving back.

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