REVIEW: Sloan – The Double Cross (2011)

SLOAN – The Double Cross (2011 CD and iTunes editions)

This is an album that grew on me.  The last number of Sloan albums (everything since Between the Bridges basically) failed to grow on me.  Or, I failed to devote the time necessary to them.  Whomever is at fault…I never got into them.

Then, I got stuck in traffic one night on the way home from work.  There’s a certain “sweet spot” in the tri-cities.  If there’s an accident right where the 401 meets highway 8, it has the potential to tie up traffic in the tri-city area.  So, I took the long way home and listened to Sloan’s The Double Cross all the way through.  Twice.

The album grew from a 3.5/5 to a 5/5 in those two listens.

Two tracks stand out immediately: Chris’ “Follow he Leader” and Patrick’s “Unkind”. Both are incredible songs. Both remind me of what made me go nuts for Sloan a long time ago. Both have really immediate choruses, but both also really capture a vibe. You’ll know what I mean when you hear them.

I also quite like “Shadow Of Love” which sounds new wavy to me, like something Elvis Costello would have written. Little bit of moog on there. I also quite like Patrick’s “I Gotta Know”, a melodic punk-like rocker. Jay’s “Beverly Terrace” is like a disco song, no kidding, and it’s great. I also like Jay’s “The Answer Was You”. The closer “Laying So Low” is quite good as well, a slower one which ends the album on a bittersweet note.

There are two bonus tracks worth grabbing: iTunes had “Then Again”.  It is my third favourite song on the record overall, a Chris song with a dark almost heavy metal vibe (although the song is not a metal song). The iTunes pre-order only track, “Jesus Loves Me”, is a Patrick rocker with a heavy distorted riff like something Weezer might have done.

For best results, play loud. In traffic.

(Don’t like the cover art though. I love a lot of Sloan covers like One Chord and Navy Blues, and you can see they’re going for that two-colour-portrait look here, but the gold and purple are kinda putrid. Not really a cover that jumps out at you at the record store. But then again, who browses record stores anymore? Sigh.)

5/5stars

5 comments

  1. WOO! SLOAN! Yes, the XX is a fantastic record. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years (at that point, I guess it’s 21 now). I did some math, and it turns out I’ve been a fan for 18 of those years. Damn. And man, these songs sounded so HUGE live – I caught this tour last summer (got tix for my birthday), and got to meet Chris and Patrick afterwards. Happy birthday to me! I digress. Great record, chock full of brilliant songs (like every Sloan record). Love it love it love it.

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  2. I got re-routed over to this review, ironically, by your “traffic-jam gripe” post, haha! Sloan falls into a rare category for me as a record buyer (yes, the round black spinable things!)…I will always buy their newest releases regardless. They never seem to disappoint me and this album was no exception. This one is definitely a stealth rocker with plenty of musical variety (like only Sloan can do) to keep the album from getting stale. Glad you got an opportunity to revisit this gem.
    Side not: I am surprised that Action Pact hasn’t stuck with you…that album is, by far, the most guitar driven effort in their catalogue. See “Hollow Head” and go from there…solid album!

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    1. Thanks again for commenting Robert!

      Have you heard the new record yet?

      Action Pact is I keep meaning to re-review. It has some great songs and excellent moments. I’d like to get a version with bonus tracks so I can be as comprehensive as possible, but an Action Pact revisit IS in the cards.

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      1. Actually, I just picked up Commonwealth on vinyl….and it comes with the cd and a digital download…a bargain at $26!!! I have only gone through it once but it is still very much Sloan. Jay’s material is strong and so it Patrick’s. Andrew has one song which spans the entire side of an album…kinda like his own version of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, lol!

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