|1. The N.S.|
|2. So Beyond Me|
|3. Don't You Believe A Word|
|5. Sensory Deprivation|
|6. All By Ourselves|
|7. A Long Time Coming|
|8. Waiting For Slow Songs|
|9. Losing California|
|10. The Marquee And The Moon|
|11. Take Good Care Of The Poor Boy|
|12. Delivering Maybes|
Between The Bridges
- Product Dimensions : 13.97 x 12.55 x 1.14 cm; 104.33 Grams
- Manufacturer : Murder Records
- Manufacturer reference : 6.01E+11
- Label : Murder Records
- ASIN : B00000K08V
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Sloan stake out their usual turf--a piece of emotional land somewhere on the border of knowingness and bemusement--on Between the Bridges. Their most ambitious yet, the album cleverly strings one track into the next while marshaling a full complement of early-'70s pop-rock influences (Todd Rundgren, Badfinger). The result is as creamy ("Don't You Believe a Word") and cutting ("Friendship") at times as Rumours; for good measure, there's the tear-away tour de force "Sensory Deprivation" and the echoes of Imagine that open "The N.S." In an age where few bands make it this far--Bridges is their sixth long-player, counting 1998's live 4 Nights at the Palais Royale--Sloan reaffirm their power with each new release. With any luck, this one will make more listeners outside their Canadian homeland aware of that fact. --Rickey Wright
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'The N.S.' acts as the album's overture. Told from the perspective of someone who's been spit out by the music business, it offers advice to a young pop band with pop dreams, itching to make it big. It's probably drummer Andrew Scott's most contemplative entry in the Sloan songwriting canon. Later on, her serves up 'Sensory Deprivation', a song of which I can't decide is an ironic send-up of mindless jock rock (a la Soundgarden's 'Big Dumb Sex') or sincere mindless jock rock. Either way, it's six aching minutes anchored by a dull riff that I skip every time.
By 'So Beyond Me', things are going terribly wrong for our boys. "Dance with the creeps and the queens / The kings have all gone home to bed / Gone is the American dream / That would have gone right to my head". Chris Murphy continually amazes me with his lyric writing. He pulls rhymes out of mid-air, throws in corny puns, all while writing deeply personal but universal pop tunes. 'All By Ourselves' continues the Sloan-goes-to-Hollywood theme, only now the boys are out west and starting to get burned for real: "But the do-it yourselfers want to do it so they can see a dime / Chances are you could see us selling as south as Anaheim". Chris puts the vitriol away later, on the stunning piano torch song workout 'The Marquee and the Moon' which manages to throw in references to admirable classic punkers Television, and the innocence of the Halifax punk rock scene. Oh, and to show Chris hasn't lost all his cheekiness, he slips into his rhyme scheme the word "onomatopoeia". Bless that boy's heart. He gets the album's last word with 'Delivering Maybes', a song full of optimism for Sloan's rock future ("On and on we roam around the world").
Jay Ferguson delivers three spectacular shy-boy pop ditties, starting with 'Don't You Believe a Word' ("Can't you see that I've been lost so long"), followed by 'Waiting for Slow Songs' (which deftly encapsulates Jay's songwriting m.o. in its chorus: "But you write the saddest song / Turn around and make it a singalong") and finally the awesome 'Take Good Care of the Poor Boy' (which is about the vanquished hero, returned home with his tail between his legs, but ecstatic to be there). This is Jay's strongest showing so far on any Sloan album.
Patrick Pentland's 'Friendship' is an ode to love gone bad ("Somebody get me a doctor, yeah"). It's soaked in his patented power chord riffing, and is a lot livelier than the subject matter would indicate. "A Long Time Coming" sees Patrick in poignant mode, twinning acoustic guitars and deft organ work with his sad voice to create a lovely little lament. 'Losing California' (on which Patrick trades vocals with Chris, following in the fine tradition of Twice Removed's 'I Hate My Generation' and Navy Blues' 'Money City Maniacs') is the most obvious, heart-on-their-sleeve diatribe against the American record industry ("And everybody loves it but nobody knows what it stands for / Get into yourself in dark sunglasses and elevate it all 'til it means more"). It's also the loudest, most raucous song here, great both for air guitaring and primal screaming.
It took me a long time to really get into this album. There are no true standout radio singles and it offers a sharp departure from other Sloan albums, with less big guitars and more soft pianos. Also, it's probably the most cohesive Sloan album yet, with the group's four songwriters collectively exploring all sides of one big idea. The first four tunes fade into each other, copping a trick the Beatles used on Sgt. Pepper, a comparison I don't make lightly, and one that Between the Bridges definitely lives up to.