15 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Decades of playing together only energized these pop-rockers from Halifax, Nova Scotia, as 2011’s The Double Cross was considered by many to be their best album to date. Figuring out how to differentiate their new album from their others, Sloan made Commonwealth a strictly defined double album with each member taking a side. Jay Ferguson opens with a track that sounds exactly like vintage Sloan. “You’ve Got a Lot on Your Mind,” "Three Sisters,” and the gentle, acoustic “Neither Here nor There” are clear highlights. Lead singer Chris Murphy brings a power-pop punch on “Carried Away,” while “Get Out” and “You Don’t Need Excuses to Be Good” favor electric guitars over the piano featured elsewhere. Lead guitarist Patrick Pentland offers the guitar-led “13 (Under a Bad Sign)” and “Take It Easy,” which sound like versions of the same song. It’s drummer Andrew Scott who pushes things with the 18-minute pastiche “Forty-Eight Portraits,” which sounds like the band walked in on a Pink Floyd session—complete with barking dogs and random piano chords—until a song forms around the three-minute mark. From there, various song ideas pop out of the mix.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Decades of playing together only energized these pop-rockers from Halifax, Nova Scotia, as 2011’s The Double Cross was considered by many to be their best album to date. Figuring out how to differentiate their new album from their others, Sloan made Commonwealth a strictly defined double album with each member taking a side. Jay Ferguson opens with a track that sounds exactly like vintage Sloan. “You’ve Got a Lot on Your Mind,” "Three Sisters,” and the gentle, acoustic “Neither Here nor There” are clear highlights. Lead singer Chris Murphy brings a power-pop punch on “Carried Away,” while “Get Out” and “You Don’t Need Excuses to Be Good” favor electric guitars over the piano featured elsewhere. Lead guitarist Patrick Pentland offers the guitar-led “13 (Under a Bad Sign)” and “Take It Easy,” which sound like versions of the same song. It’s drummer Andrew Scott who pushes things with the 18-minute pastiche “Forty-Eight Portraits,” which sounds like the band walked in on a Pink Floyd session—complete with barking dogs and random piano chords—until a song forms around the three-minute mark. From there, various song ideas pop out of the mix.

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