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Action Pact

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Album Review

One thing that no one can deny about Sloan is that they can't be ignored as a band always willing to bring out the fun and the rock & roll. They always wear the hearts of their influences proudly on their record sleeves, but never succumb to loss of originality for the sake of trying too hard to impress upon the listener the validity of their roots. Action Pact expands upon Sloan's muscular leanings, due primarily to the band's decision to hire a producer for the first time in its history. Under the direction of Tom Rothrock (producer of artists as diverse as R.L. Burnside, Beck, and Elliott Smith), the songs gel like on no previous Sloan release. The band really plays to its strengths on Action Pact, showcasing remarkably tight vocals, the power of drummer Andrew Scott, and the arena-rocking, bouncy, handclapper songs that defined part of Sloan's post-Navy Blues career. The only noticeable disappointment of this release comes in the decision not to include any compositions by Scott, whose songs have adorned every previous outing by these proud Canadians, but this doesn't really hold back the power and depth of Action Pact; it just seems a bit dishonest to the legacy Sloan have built. Nonetheless, Action Pact is a streamlined album, recorded with minimal overdubs (read no keyboards), which opens in the classic Sloan one-two punch with "Gimme That" and "Live On" by songwriters Chris Murphy and Patrick Pentland respectively. It's on the fifth track, the Jay Ferguson-penned "False Alarm," where the band starts to really stretch out into fresh territory that never lets up the intensity through the rest of the album. The brilliant pop of Pentland's "I Was Wrong," the jerky tension of "Who Loves Life More," and the elliptical "Reach Out" are all magnified by the obvious inspiration Sloan have found while the lovely "Fade Away," which, even with crunchy guitars, manages to hold onto the delicacy Ferguson always brings to the table and provides a perfect album closer. Lyrically, the members of Sloan continue down the more thoughtful path they first explored liberally on Pretty Together, tackling subjects from the troublesome dichotomy the touring musician faces when a hint of desire to settle down emerges to the defensive argument against the critics who charge the band with treading too close to its heroes. Action Pact is another step ahead for Sloan, which is an achievement they should be proud of considering the superb quality they've shown for the better part of a decade. [The U.S. edition of Action Pact contains two bonus tracks, "Will You Ever Love Me Again" and "Step On It, Jean."]

Customer Reviews

Pretty Good, An Overlooked Album!

This is a pretty good album. It isn't one of those simple albums, it has many complex turns and twists. Take "Fade Away", for example. It is a great song that has some smart chords, unlike something like "Sweet Home Alabama" (I'm not critisizing it, it's a great song also). All I'm saying is that this album is a nice break from simple rock. Try it out.

A surprise find......

Stumbled on this band quite by accident, but I must say I'm glad I did. Originally looking for Live On by another band, THEIR (not the same) song Live On ROCKED ME right out of my shoes. The lyrics equally as strong as the music litterly blew me away. In so doing I could not help browsing (and buying) other songs off of this very diverse and surprising album. I highly recommend buying this album. MJS

Biography

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...
Full Bio