Sloan Never Hear the End of It

Like most people, I figured last year’s release of their double-disc greatest hits collection A Sides Win was a sure sign that Sloan were done; that it was finally time for the venerable Halifax foursome to put the brakes on their diminishing forward momentum and take one last backward glance at an impressive, decade-long career. Well, apparently we were wrong, as Sloan have stormed back to life with Never Hear the End of It, by far their most ambitious album to date. An epic 30-song journey that doesn’t bother to so much as stop to take a breath during its hour-plus running time, the album offers up some of the best examples of Sloan’s bright, unashamedly poppy blues sound we’ve heard from the band in years. But the sheer amount of material often cheapens and distracts from the disc’s best moments. To some extent, Never Hear the End of It suffers a little from lack of critical omission inherent in such a project, and it probably would have been an exceptional 12-song album. Still, it’s interesting to hear what Sloan pump out when they feel they’ve got all the room in the world to do what they want. Tracks like "Fading Into Obscurity” and the first single "Who Taught You To Live Like That,” are the most instantly likeable tracks and serve to anchor the front end of the album as it sets off to explore an ocean of infectious rock ditties that, freed from the weight of traditional three-minute song conventions, bob to the surface just long enough to belt out a few harmonious verses before slipping back under. Again, the assault inevitably becomes overwhelming, but there are some bright moments here, and it’s clear that Sloan meant for this album to hold up to the adoration of a long-faithful fan base more than willing to give it endless repeated listens. (Caracol)