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Sloan article from todays Daily Snooze (very long)



   The Daily News Worldwide
   
   Sunday, June 9, 1996
   
One moment to another

  A revitalized Sloan releases its third record on Wednesday. After that, the
  Halifax popsters are as uncertain as ever
  
    Andy Pedersen -- The Daily News
    
   It felt like the rumors were finally coming true when Andrew Scott
   came home from Toronto this past Christmas.
   
   He and his fellow Sloan-mates had booked some studio time, intending
   to record a few final tunes and generally tie up the band's loose
   ends.
   
   Rumors of the band's breakup had been circulating for a year, and as
   the four gathered they were resigned to the fact that those sessions
   would likely be Sloan's last.
   
   "We thought at the time that (the recording) would be mostly for
   posterity," recalls bassist Chris Murphy. "We really weren't thinking
   that we'd end up playing together much afterwards."
   
   But together again in the studio for the first time in more than a
   year, the excitement and the creative energy that launched the band
   into the national spotlight three years ago - and which caused so much
   disappointment with the prospect of its demise - was suddenly back.
   
   The quiet little project turned out to be the kickstart which may very
   well keep Sloan together for years.
   
   "By the time we finished the recording we were getting along really
   well together and things just seemed pretty cool," says Murphy, now on
   the eve of that recording's release.
   
   "It was exciting for me to be in the band, and it was exciting to
   think we might keep on recording," the 27-year-old Halifax native
   says. Guitarist Jay Ferguson, sitting beside Murphy in a downtown
   coffee shop, nods in agreement.
   
   But it's not long before they throw a cloud of doubt back over the
   band's future.
   
   "Making the records is the easy part, you know," Murphy says. "We're
   not planning our world tour or anything."
   
   Sloan's latest record - One Chord to Another (in stores June 12) -
   continues farther along the path they charted on Twice Removed.
   
   Chrystal-clear guitars drive the songs, but rarely dominate. There are
   few obvious hooks, yet the tunes are often surprisingly infectious.
   And the lead vocals and harmonies are given plenty of room to breathe
   - it's not hard to decipher their uncommonly intelligent lyrics.
   
   Murphy and Ferguson agree that a different atmosphere surrounded this
   latest recording, however.
   
   "This one's a lot happier than the last one," says Murphy. "When we
   recorded (Twice Removed) we were caught up with the label politics,
   with ourselves, and with a musical style that was already getting
   pretty tired.
   
   "This time, it wasn't so much a matter of what we didn't want it to
   sound like but what we did want to do."
   
   For one thing, the band hired Halifax's Mike Cowie to lay some trumpet
   over a couple of the songs ("He's a total pro," says Ferguson). And
   Andrew Scott stepped out from behind the drums to tickle the ivories.
   
   Still, the frequent comparisons to British bands won't be laid to rest
   with One Chord. Not that they mind so much.
   
   "I've always sort of polarized British and American music," Murphy
   explains. "I think of British as pop and American as rock.
   
   "British bands tend to stay towards the feminine side, or at least
   they inject some of the feminine (into their music).
   
   "American music is so overwhelmingly masculine. I basically think
   grunge was just jock rock in disguise."
                    ___________________________________
                                      
   It's easy to underestimate the popularity of Sloan's take on the
   British sound. Just as it's easy to underestimate the excitement with
   which word spread earlier this year that the band was recording One
   Chord to Another.
   
   Although the band's first two records were hardly commercial stiffs
   (Smeared sold slightly more than 50,000 copies, Twice Removed slightly
   less), neither did quite so well as the hype surrounding the band's
   formation (remember Canada's Nirvana) originally promised.
   
   Nonetheless, Sloan has some of the most rabidly loyal fans out there.
   Their infrequent shows are routinely packed; their songs are mainstays
   on campus radio play-lists; there is an Internet discussion site
   dedicated almost entirely to things Sloan; and the band is the focus
   of half a dozen Canadian music 'zines.
   
   Critics adore them as well. In a recent, informal survey of music
   insiders, Twice Removed was named the best Canadian album of all time.
   America's Spin magazine called Twice Removed one of the 10 best
   records you didn't hear in 1994.
   
   The prospect of at least one more record full of Sloan's clever,
   Brit-poppy tunes was a happy one.
   
   "We're not a bunch of dope-smoking, selfish jammers who are only
   interested in playing the music we feel like playing," says Murphy.
   
   "We think of ourselves as music fans. We try to make the kind of music
   that we'd like to hear."
   
   Something made easier, say Murphy and Ferguson, by the band's
   intensely democratic philosophy. With four song-writers there is no
   discernable star, no discernable lead-singer and no creative tyranny -
   a Beatles-like set-up they consciously emulated.
   
   "At first we were accused of being too inconsistent," says Murphy.
   "But we didn't want to end up in some glut ... banging out a bunch of
   heavy guitar shit record after record.
   
   "And I think we've made the right choices," he says. "Now that we're
   three records in I think that everybody's character has developed into
   something you can see - now all I want to do is keep on going and
   making music."
   
   Then he adds, not so obnoxiously as it may sound, "We're my own
   favorite band - I think that challenges us is a good way."
   
   Sloan will perform a short show instore at Sam The Record Man on
   Barrington Street in Halifax on Wednesday, June 12 at 4 p.m.
   
    Those cursed Sloan rumors
    
   Two deliciously conspiratorial rumors emerged from the thick fog of
   uncertainty which surrounded Sloan for the past year-and-a-half.
   
   Briefly, they went like this: The Publicity Stunt Theory: Disappointed
   by the commercial performance of its first two records - Smeared and
   Twice Removed - the band purposefully spread false word of its own
   breakup to whip up publicity and empathy and, ultimately, bigger
   sales. The Contract-Breaking Theory: Disillusioned with their label,
   David Geffen's prestigious DGC, the band spread false word of its own
   breakup to escape their six-record deal after cutting only two
   records.
   
   Both made for endlessly fascinating gossip and were common
   conversation pieces at the Birdland Cabaret, amongst newspaper writers
   and on Internet discussion groups.
   
   But now, bassist Chris Murphy and gui- tarist Jay Fergu- son are doing
   their earnest best to dispel them both.
   
   "For the record, I really want to say that we didn't do it as a
   publicity stunt," says Murphy. "Those rumors weren't com- pletely
   unfound- ed. At that point, we were asking ourselves some questions."
   
   Murphy is anxious not to lay blame, but says the long-distance re-
   lationship with Andrew Scott (who has lived in Toronto for several
   years) makes band-like things such as scheduling tours difficult.
   
   As for the contract-breaking story, Ferguson says the antagonism
   between the band and DGC was overblown.
   
   "They were gracious enough to give us lots of room when things seemed
   uncertain," he explains.
   
   "They were basically quite nice to us. It wasn't some strategy we'd
   plotted against them."
   
   But in a strange way, Ferguson says the rumors were gratifying.
   
   " I suppose it's nice to know that people care enough to be interested
   in this stuff," he says.
   
   "If nobody cared, I think that'd be a lot worse."
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