This is taken to its logical conclusion on Commonwealth, a four-sided record with one side for each band member. Separating Sloan into its four solitudes reinforces one's impression of each songwriter. To these ears, Jay Ferguson's is the strongest: the band's secret weapon fills his side with Kinks-y gems like "You've Got a Lot on Your Mind" and "Cleopatra." In contrast, Patrick Pentland's riff-rock fetishes, a welcome change of pace on most Sloan records, fare poorly when placed all together.
This is what I would have expected going in, which means my take on the record echoes my take on the band itself. Along those lines, some Sloan fans will expectedly find Pentland's side to be their favourite, just as others will gravitate towards Chris Murphy's catchy earworms or Andrew's impressive, entire side-filling 18-minute composition. Sloan have always been one of Canada's most democratic bands and, accordingly, Commonwealth offers a little something for everyone, no matter what you're looking for. (Yep Roc)