Canadian rock band Sloan has had the same four members its entire 20-year career. Even more impressive, however, is how rock solid its power-pop songs have been over that time. And the quartet shows no signs of weakening on its latest, "The Double Cross."
From its opening songs, the album commands attention, each song blending into the next to generate a snowball of energy. Album opener "Follow the Leader" is a bouncy, instantly memorable tune that melds seamlessly into the sultry and jubilant "The Answer Was You." The blurring of one song into the next is a nifty trick, taking a pop style that is usually song-driven and instead highlighting the interplay between tunes to form a cohesive whole.
Not every track is perfect. "Shadow of Love" feels a hair too fast, while the mellow, folksy "Green Gardens, Cold Montreal" loses some of the album's infectious momentum. But even the subpar songs are enjoyable, and the only real problem with "The Double Cross" is its brevity. The most fleeting tracks (such as the 82-second whirlwind "I've Gotta Know") don't feel too short, but the album's dozen songs wrap up in just 34 minutes, leaving you craving more.
-- Catherine P. Lewis