» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Pretty Together
Murder Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

February 18, 2000
I've gotta tell you, back in 1997 I was all about One Chord to Another, and I think just about everyone in indie rock was. That album took the Halifax quartet from noteworthy Canadian power-pop combo to a bona fide, mature songwriting unit. They seemed to be about what I had always imagined bands to be - a collective effort of distinct parts. Most bands have one, maybe two songwriters, but Sloan was convinced that everyone writing songs was the way to go, and it seemed to be working for them. Where bands like Blind Melon couldn't seem to fashion a hook to even half of an album's worth of songs, Sloan were cranking out track after track of catchy riffs, jangling guitars and a plethora of infectious hand claps. Sloan came to be synonymous with barbed melodies, and while the harmonies were sometimes cheeky, they always stuck, buoyed by strong pop structures with a bit of a dirty, charismatic edge.

Now we're creeping up on 2002, and the Sloan I had found, taken in and loved has gone AWOL. Their honest, almost blue collar take on pop was centered around one thing, and that was the upbeat, infectiousness of their craft. Now, I don't know quite where to look, but the fun is all gone. Sloan grew up, apparently, and decided to get all emotional on my ass. Of course their songs were always emotional, but now they're more depressing than anything. Sloan are more mature and, in turn, they're more serious, an aspect which doesn't quite suit them. Honestly, their newfound gravity seems to cancel out everything that I liked about them to begin with. The spontinaety and chaotic feel that developed from the four corners of the band's songwriting has been replaced with a cohesiveness that I always thought would make them more potent but has somehow managed to water them down. The handclaps are gone, replaced with wistful adult-contemporary pop. The 60's influences are still there, but the 90s tinge has all but disappeared. "Everything You've Done Wrong" has been replaced by songs like "Are You Giving Me Back My Love?" and "I Love a Long Goodbye" which should sound soulful and honest but only manage to sound whiney and, well, old.

Sloan's release of this album parallels the Dismemberment Plan and their release of Change in that both, while consisting of well written, competent pop songs, equate to the same thing - a big yawn. Both bands started out as small specks in their regional music scenes, grew steadily through a grass roots fan base, struck it rich with a major label deal, bungled said deal and were dropped. Both bands immediately picked themselves up and released great, sparkling post-pop albums that won them critical and scene points (Sloan actually released several good albums). Now, as we coast into a new decade, century, and mellenium, both are putting me to sleep with unremarkable albums.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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