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Pop goes Sloan with Twice Removed
- Subject: Pop goes Sloan with Twice Removed
- From: "James R. Covey" <JRCOVEY\!/ac.dal.ca>
- Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 18:26:20 -0300
POP GOES SLOAN WITH TWICE REMOVED by Neil Davidson CP
Playing loud raucous guitar night after night
took its toll on the Halifax band Sloan.
A little grunge goes a long way, it appears.
So Sloan has turned down the volume on their
sophomore album Twice Removed, out Wednesday. And
turned up the pop.
The 12 songs on Twice Removed are simple,
elegant pop drenched in jangly guitars, nifty hooks
and intriguing lyrics.
It's '90s alternative retro-rock with a '60s
twist and a shot of the '70s. There are brief trips
back into time, evoking memories of early Neil Young
and Elvis Costello -- even the Beach Boys.
It's a pretty entertaining journey, albeit a
sad one at times. And one that takes them down a far
different road from their 1992 debut which sold
between 125,000 and 150,000 copies.
"Our shows are just so loud. The last thing
we wanted to to when we got home was put on a Dinosaur
Jr. record or something like that," guitarist Jay
Ferguson explained in a recent interview from Halifax.
"So everyone was listening to different records."
Records by groups like Fleetwood Mac, the
Plastic Ono Band and the Velvet Underground.
But Sloan fans shouldn't worry about how these
songs translate live, Ferguson says.
"That's where everything will make sense...If
you come see us live, it won't be like 'Oh we have to
turn down our amps and bring out the piano for this
song, which is from the new record.'"
There are plenty of sad songs here. Life has
a tendency to turn upside down for young rockers
signed to a major label.
"I've been pretty lucky," said Ferguson, a
slight, boyish 25-year-old with Mick Jagger-like
"I've had the same girlfriend for 3-1/2 years
but yeah, a couple of girlfriends broke up on the
Guitarist Patrick Pentland seems to have
suffered the most on that score on songs like Loosen --
"So this is it, From where you sit, I should be going...
Put me back into the same shape, how you found me,
before you broke me."
Coax Me is a glorious single about signing a
record deal (the refrain is "Coax me, Cajole me")
complete with a catchy guitar hook and Beach Boy-esque
backing vocals. The accompanying video is also
excellent, capturing the band in true '60s fashion on
a spartan set.
While Twice Removed sounds simple, it is rich
in texture -- from the handclaps on Snowsuit Sound to
the inviting slab of guitar sound on Shame, Shame.
And there is the versatility that comes from
having all four band members sing and write songs.
The change in style may seem sudden to some,
but Ferguson says it happened gradually. Fans of the
band just haven't had a chance to follow that evolution,
he explains, since Sloan hasn't released anything since
Smeared which was recorded in 1991.
That was the year that Sloan made its live debut
at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. They
financed a recording session soon afterwards and released
an EP, Peppermint, on their own Murderecords label.
A Canadian tour followed and Sloan was snapped up
by Geffen Records, home to Sonic Youth and other leading
alternative bands. Smeared emerged from the same 1991
recording session, although it was later remixed.
For Ferguson, the adventure continues with a U.S.
and Canadian tour.
"It sounds corny, but it's a total dream, a real
"Something I've always wanted to do."
_James R. Covey <jrcovey\!/ac.dal.ca>_ sloan net is a discussion of the
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