SLOAN – peppermint (1992 murderecords EP)
I’m not a big fan of early Sloan. I rarely listen to the first album Smeared (haven’t played it in years despite having two great singles on it). I don’t really get into Sloan until their second album, the magnum opus Twice Removed. I didn’t like them back then in 1992 at all; Sloan were the enemy. A bunch of glasses-wearing short-hairs who pouted and didn’t play a lot of solos. The antithesis to what I liked; and the Canadian embodiment of the kind of thing that was killing off my kind of music like a cancer!
So there’s that. Listening to the peppermint EP today (I even hate that the title is all lowercase) still doesn’t do much for me. “Underwhelmed” is an outstanding song, but this early slower version is just a patch on what it would later become. I do like its lyrics, even though it contains these lines:
She skips her classes and gets good grades,
I go to my courses rain or shine,
She’s passin’ her classes,
While I attend mine.
Taken out of context, kind of lame; but the song is actually quite clever lyrically and one of their finer achievements.
Patrick Pentland’s “Sugartune” is catchy but not outstanding. “Pretty Voice”, sung by Jay Ferguson is also one of the better tunes. This one did not make the album Smeared for whatever reason. It’s the first really fast upbeat song, and it has a bit of a tasty guitar riff to it. It’s just recorded so damn muddy, as is all of peppermint. And that’s my biggest obstacle to liking this EP. It boils down to the sound.
Even though the band themselves are noisy and enjoy guitar squeals and feedback at this early stage, it’s not captured on tape. Instead there’s this dull roar of 90’s sounding guitars, without a lot of distinction. I can hear bits and pieces of coolness and even genius, but only buried under the morass of the mix.
I even dislike the 90’s-indie cover art. Boring.