Following their most critically-acclaimed albums to date, -- SPIN called Never Hear the End of It, "the best British Invasion best-of you've never heard," and Pitchfork called Parallel Play "almost flawless" - Canadian pop iconoclasts Sloan are ready to celebrate. Their recent albums would be reason enough but 2011 marks the twentieth anniversary of the band, and how better to honor such an occasion than a brand new album prolific with power pop gems? Sloan delivers just that with their 10th album The Double Cross, a titular shout-out to the band's 20th (or XX) anniversary. The album kicks off as awesome as universal healthcare with "Follow the Leader" and the sure-fire sync license riffage of "Unkind." In addition to releasing one of their best albums to date, the band will be celebrating all year long with special shows, an exclusive one-of-a-kind album artwork series and much more. So raise your glasses to Jay, Patrick, Chris, Andrew and 20 years of Sloan. Here's to 20 more!
I may be reviewing this album a tad prematurely, but I was stuck in traffic for over an hour today and played the album twice on my way home from work. Therefore, I feel like like it's all fresh in my mind, so let's get on with it!
Some biographical background: I once considered myself a huge Sloan fan and I bought all the Japanese imports and vinyl that I could find. I loved Betweem The Bridges, but I haven't loved any Sloan albums since. Parallel Play has been the one I've liked the most since then, but I can't remember any of the songs distinctly. I liked the Hit & Run EP as well, but not enthralled.
I do like The Double Cross. I'm not in love with it yet, but I firmly like over half the album. I love two tracks: Chris' "Follow The Leader" and Patrick's "Unkind". Both are incredible songs. Both remind me of what made me go nuts for Sloan a long time ago. Both have really immediate choruses, but both also really capture a vibe. You'll know what I mean when you heard them.
I also quite like "Shadow Of Love" which sounds new wavy to me, like something Elvis Costello would have written. Little bit of moog on there. I also quite like Patrick's "I Gotta Know", a melodic punk-like rocker. Jay's "Beverly Terrace" is like a disco song, no kidding, and it's great. I also like Jay's "The Answer Was You". The closer "Laying So Low" is quite good as well, a slower one which ends the album on a bittersweet note.
There are two bonus tracks worth grabbing: "Then Again" is my third favourite song on the record, a Chris song with a dark almost heavy metal vibe (although the song is not a metal song). "Jesus Loves Me" is a Patrick rocker with a heavy distorted riff like something Weezer might have done.
For best results, play loud. In traffic.
Don't like the cover art though. I love a lot of Sloan covers like One Chord and Navy Blues, and you can see they're going for that two-colour-portrait look here, but the gold and purple are kinda putrid. Not really a cover that jumps out at you at the record store. But then again, who browses record stores anymore? Sigh.
So yeah, I like the record. Not in love with it yet. I'm going to keep playing it and giving it a chance, because tracks 1 and 3 are so damm good. I'm gonna give it:
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com:4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 starssloan comes through againMay 12 2011
By Ken - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Amazon Verified Purchase
c'mon on. it's sloan. this means excellent power pop, but it also means kick ass rock n roll. think BETWEEN THE BRIDGES and NAVY BLUES era sloan. i played this through 3 times when i first put it in the player. it's that good. awesome songwriting, production, and rockin'. don't miss this one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 starsAmerican indie rock with Beatles-esque harmonies & muscular guitar riffsJune 21 2011
By Charlie Quaker - Published on Amazon.com
Canadian critics' favorites release their 10th album in 20 years. This is American indie rock with an arrow aimed straight at the pop heart; Beatles-esque harmonies & muscular rock guitar riffs with nods to both psychedelic & roots rock. Shades of Teenage Fanclub, Constantines, Free Energy, Nada Surf, Game Theory, Beatles, Eric's Trip, New Pornographers, Big Star.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 starsAnother more than consistent Sloan albumJune 21 2011
By Christopher B Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
I have been a Sloan fan for the last 10 or so years. I always anticipate hearing their latest release. In my opinion the Double Cross (XX), continues their amazing run of consistent albums. How many bands have more than one talented singer/songwriter? Sloan has 4. Depending upon what mood I am in, my favorite songs change day to day. This is what I love about Sloan. And while this album along with Parallel Play may be my least favorites of theirs, they are miles above the latest Lady Gaga or Katy Perry album.
I enjoy all of the songs on the album. My favorites are: Follow The Leader, The Answer Was You, Unkind, She's Slowing Down Again, and Laying So Low. My only complaint about the album is that it's over a little too quick. But that's a small complaint from a band that continues to deliver enjoyment to me year in and year out.