Sloan: Where jangly pop and arena rock brilliantly collide

Sloan / Fine Line Music Café / May 18, 2007

Sloan are a pretty big deal in their home country of Canada, where they are the Rock Hotness, in an appropriately modest and well-behaved Canadian way. Who are their stateside fans? I don't yet have a handle on the demographic, except that they skew older and less Pitchfork-y compared with your average indie crowd.

Tight vocals and harmonizing from every corner of the stage are a Sloan trademark. The foursome is democratic to a fault; each bandmember writes his own songs, and live shows involve a bit of shuffling around as drummer Andrew Scott leaves the kit to perform his works on guitar.

Scott's songs have a hard edge with frayed rock texture and lots of drive; my favorite numbers are written by guitarist Patrick Pentland. "Ill Placed Trust" captures everything soaring and anthemic about the best arena rock, while "Everything You've Done Wrong" skips jauntily through pop hooks and catchy melodies.

The band fit lots of their latest release, Never Hear the End of It, into the set, but of course there wasn't time enough for them to play all of its thirty songs. (Although they did actually play a thirty-song set.)

As the encore finished and the house lights went up, we all walked away with the same sentiment: Sloan, taken as a whole, have really awesome hair. Seriously, they have the hair of a band half their age.

 
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