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Parallel Play

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iTunes Review

After the 30-track onslaught of 2007’s Never Hear the End of It, this Canadian quartet comes back here with the more traditional 13-track Parallel Play. Sloan, however, have become less a band than a recording and performing vehicle for its four members' songwriting forays. Drummer Andrew Scott played all the instruments for his four diverse contributions that include the hit and run aggression of “Emergency 911,” while lead guitarist Patrick Pentland used the other members sparingly. But despite arriving from four different initiation points, the music comes together as a psychedelic pastiche, with guitar riffs and waves of keyboard aiming for straight pop (“Believe In Me”) or trippy late-‘60s type experiments. (Pentland’s “The Other Side” segues perfectly into Scott’s “Down in the Basement,” which flows seamlessly into guitarist Jay Ferguson’s piano-based pop tune “If I Could Change Your Mind.”) Sloan sound as if they’ve emerged from the era of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour and the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle with the variety and loose approach of the Beatles’ White Album clearly on their minds.

Customer Reviews

how do they do it?

Another extremely strong record from one of the best bands of past 15 years. Andrew wins on this for quality, but Jay, Patrick & Chris aren't far behind. "Cheap Champagne" is classic Sloan/Jay and "Too Many" takes Sloan in a direction they haven't ventured... a very good direction. I'm biased since this is one of my all-time favorites, but this is a great, concise, well written and played record. Only one question, what's with the "clean" version?

Everything we want from Sloan

Strong and solid from start to finish.

Genre exercises

Sloan has always worn influences on its sleeve, but much of this album seems like genre exercises. “Living the Dream” is “Let It Be”-era Beatles, “Burn For It” is Jesus/Mary Chain ca. 1993, “Too Many” is (English) Beat ska, and going back even farther “Down In The Basement” is mid-60s Dylan. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good album, but feels a little derivative coming from such a terrific band. However, “Witches Wand,” and “I’m Not A Kid Anymore” are tracks that reveal the band's true self.


Formed: 1991 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Sloan were one of the most successful Canadian bands of the '90s, which was both a blessing and a curse. While they were well known in their homeland, where their Beatlesque power pop became a radio staple, they had a difficult time breaking into the American market, especially after their label, DGC, decided not to market their hooky pop in the wake of grunge. After spending several years fighting the label, and nearly breaking up, Sloan re-emerged in 1996 with One Chord to Another, a record that...
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