Sloan, Hit & Run (EP)

Published on February 23rd, 2010 in: Canadian Content, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Jemiah Jefferson

The newest original-material release from Toronto’s ambassadors of brainy party rock shows the four members of Sloan further exploring their masterful sound with these five tracks, one from each member (with an additional track from the prolific Chris Murphy).

The EP takes its name from an incident in the summer of 2009 when Murphy was hit by a car and knocked off his bike, but it also nicely describes the songs, all of which come on, take just enough time for you to really dig the song, then end without ever quite reaching a climax. Each member has a definitive and personal style of songwriting, all of which are on display here.

hit and run sloan

The opener, “Take It Upon Yourself”, is classic Chris, with understated but punchy lead guitar, assisted by handclaps, vocal harmonies, and maracas, which bring danceability to a poignant song about a very lonely form of self-reliance. The gentler Jay Ferguson provides the next track, “Midnight Mass,” with a secret love story revealed through acoustic guitar and electronic piano and the best harmonic features of a good Christine McVie Fleetwood Mac song. It gets the point across in a too-efficient two minutes.

Bespectacled guitar god Patrick Pentland brings the third track, “Is it Never”; his voice is harder and sharper than it ever was before, and an aggressive piano takes the lead on a rocking chorus until a noisy, distortion-driven guitar solo reminds you just who wrote this song! Again, it’s over too soon. The rock does not stop in the fourth track, a boogie rave-up from Andrew Scott. Reminiscent of Scott’s “Sensory Deprivation,” the Skynyrd-esque highlight of Sloan’s fifth studio album Between the Bridges, “Where are You Now?” provides a scant two minutes of rock energy. The final track, “Dear Diary”, shows the other, more Paul McCartney-influenced side of Chris Murphy, the piano making another appearance with a gently chugging cha-cha rhythm and sincere vocals.

If there’s a flaw with this EP, it’s that all the songs are too short, and could have benefited from an additional verse. The music is just too good to come and go so quickly. Here’s hoping for a full-length, containing full-length songs, in the near future.

Hit & Run was released in November 2009 and is available via the band’s website. While you’re there, be sure to check out the recently-released and long-awaited B Sides Win, the “sequel” to Sloan’s singles compilation A Sides Win.

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