Full disclosure: I write this review after having experienced Sloan at the KEE to Bala just the other night and they put on a fantastic show. So impartial review, this ain’t.
I had been on the hunt for a vinyl copy for Sloan’s new album, 12 after streaming four of its tunes on YouTube. The sucker had been sold out everywhere I looked, but last night I was able to score one at the show. Well… truth be told… my Wife & Super Sexy Blogger Extraordinaire, Sarca Sim scored me one. They had a booth selling the usual concert items, and Sarca was itching to scope it out for a T-shirt. I handed “Ol’ Cupface” the $40 in cash I had on me and asked her to check for the album while I held claim to our stage-view table. What she came back with was a clear, purple vinyl, US imported LP for $25:
Wild stuff, no? Needless to say I was not only thrilled at finally snagging a copy, but also proud of my wife’s eye for seeing an opportunity to get the more collectible version. If you want to know more about our time at the show check out Sarca’s review of it right here.
As for the tunes on 12, I will fully admit how the cerebral lyrics for your average Sloan song flies firmly over my head. For instance, the album’s closer ‘44 Teenagers‘ gives a shout out to Gord Downie that goes:
Just the other day I was reminded of
The many ways Gord Downie died
I see a kid in my head who will be seein’ red
Until his anger yields to pride
I’m sure that means something to a lot of people, but I have no clue. Gord died only one way that I know of. Who is this kid? Their lyrics make me feel like the dumb one in the group who doesn’t understand what hyperbole is. I don’t mean this as a knock against the band or their writing style since I enjoy it regardless. I’m only pointing out my own inability to process the meaning behind abstract lyrics. How I still enjoy Sloan can only speak to the strength of their music.
My shortcomings aside, I can speak of the album’s sound overall. For the most part, 12 might be their most bright and cheery album to date. Three tunes, ‘Gone For Good‘, ‘Essential Services‘, and the formerly mentioned ‘44 Teenagers‘ have a bit of a darker tone to them, but the rest of it is full with toe tappin’ Canadian rock.
‘Spin Our Wheels‘, ‘Don’t Stop (If It Feels Good Do It)‘, ‘The Day Will Be Mine‘, ‘Have Faith‘ are the stand outs that ooze with the positive, while the rest of the album’s solid tracks make for an excellent listen without a dog in the mix. Perhaps it is not good enough to knock Navy Blues or Action Pact off as my top two favs for now, but every listen is bringing it closer to having a chance.
12‘s feel good vibe makes it for a perfect accompaniment to the windows rolled down, arm out the side window summer driving experience. A lot more spins are headed toward my eardrums as it sits among the other candidates for: