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MUSIC REVIEW (Rock)
Sloan
Pretty Together

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Label: Murderecords Released: 10/16/2001


The Cheap Trick-like crowd noise and Aerosmith-inspired guitar intro that open Sloan's latest offering are evidence that the band's love of the past is still in full effect, as it has been for their last few albums from the music to the brown, orange and light-blue artwork.

The usual sugary Sloan harmonies and vocal interplay are here, with a return to tighter "Underwhelmed"-era production (right down to the shaky-thing on "if it feels good do it"). It sounds like they've come home after wandering into lo-fi sounds and self-recording, but they've brought some souvenirs home with them.

Musical allusions to The Who, The Beatles and seventies guitar-rock pervade this release, which is no surprise to those familiar with their previous albums which strayed more and more into this territory as well. Ultimately, despite the nods to the past, the album is as refreshing and catchy as any Sloan release thus-far, with less of the unevenness that has plagued some of their, shall we say, "patched-together" work.

There is definitely some psychedelic noodling but the extra time spent writing and recording this release keeps it cemented.

Four singer/songwriters in the same band? It has seldom been attempted (what was that other band that did that?) but Sloan has practiced this balancing act for quite some time and this album attests to their deft ability to keep the band and its sound "Pretty Together" through 13 songs; Pentland's radio-friendly "If It Feels Good Do It" drifts off into the slap-back vocals of Scott's "In The Movies" drift seamlessly into the haunting harmonies of Murphy's "The Other Man" into the delicate intro of Ferguson's "Dreaming of You" builds to segue into Murphy's funky-drummer call to arms "Pick It Up and Dial It"... and so on through 7 tunes instantly identifiable as Sloan.

A must for fans and sure to create some new fans with a little more radio play and another single or two.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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