After 15 years and seven albums, Nova Scotia indie alt-popsters Sloan had grown accustomed to a recognizable sound that made each release seem a little ... routine.
Then, out of nowhere, came last year's unpretentiously brash "Never Hear the End of It," which didn't so much as revolutionize the group's sound as twist it into something audaciously interesting.
"We are still basically unknown outside of Canada. How do we reach people? I dont know," said frontman Chris Murphy. "We cant control that much. But one thing we can do is write more and try to come up with a slightly different angle."
That angle: Take whatever songs they'd never found a place for, throw them all together, connect them with flowing segues and let 'er rip - through 30 tracks. The obvious reference point is the second half of the Beatles' "Abbey Road," a comparison that Murphy doesn't mind too much.
"That's fair. What am I listening to these days? Guess what? It's the same things I've listened to all my life. I'm a 38-year-old man; I'm not lining up at midnight to get tickets to Modest Mouse," Murphy said. "Yeah, OK, it's like 'Abbey Road,' and its like 'The White Album,' too, because it's so long."
The difference is, the Beatles' medley was 16 minutes, while "Never Hear the End of It" jams, swirls and punches its way through 60 seamless minutes longer. With a rollicking barrage of sharp, stick-in-your-head melodies, the record certainly doesn't drag; still, for the iTunes generation, long albums may not fly. But, at this point, any attention for Sloan is good attention.
"I'd rather people say that than, 'Wow, those guys are still together? Hey, good for them!,'" Murphy said. "That's pretty much how people have been thinking about us for five or six years."
-- Chris Mincher (Express, May 10, 2007)