Sloan Between the Bridges

For its fifth studio album, Sloan has created an unified disc featuring songs about band members and the city of Halifax. Between the Bridges is a loosely bound musical scrapbook of the Maritime city, and a musical salute to their coming-of-age experiences. With each member contributing three songs, the album’s 12 tracks roll through a variety of pop signatures with influences that range from obvious touchstones like the Beatles, to less fashionable inspirations such as Styx ("All By Ourselves") and the Eagles ("A Long Time Coming"). Guitarist Jay Ferguson borrows guitar sounds and strums from Brit pop icons Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Haircut 100 to strike gold with "Waiting for Slow Songs," while bassist Chris Murphy channels Art Garfunkle to sing the soaring helium harmony of "The Marquee and the Moon." The first single, "Losing California" follows on the heels of last album’s harder-edge hit, "Money City Maniacs." There’s little doubt the song’s raw power will hold the interest of alternative rock kids and radio programmers alike, but track selections for Between the Bridges arguably are less concerned about scoring pop singles. Considering the way each song flows seamlessly into the next, it seems this time out the focus lay solely in crafting a record that hangs together as a total experience. Mission accomplished — Between the Bridges is a pop thrill from start to finish. (Murder)