Music

Power-Pop Majesty for the Majestically Powerless

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The cover shot of Sloan’s 650th album echoes that of Television’s Marquee Moon—four gaunt, haggard dudes stare down the camera—except these Canadian power-pop lifers have more gray hair and opted for a bright-pink background. A solid wall of bubblegum with silver streaks. Sonically,
Never Hear the End of It apes an early Guided by Voices record with far better production and (presumably) far less drunken participants—it’s the ol’ “buried by a dump truck of kittens” approach, 30 tracks and 3,000 sugar-shock melodies mashed almost arbitrarily together, fully realized anthems scraping against minute-long throwaways with nary a second of dead air in between. Plenty of ephemeral joy to be had—”I Understand” and “Who Taught You to Live Like That” bury their hooks particularly deep—but throughout lurks bittersweet injustice. Like so many equally excellent pop-genius kin—Teenage Fanclub, say—Sloan are as big as they’re gonna get, which ain’t big enough. Which brings us to our anthemic apex and emotional nadir: “Fading Into Obscurity,” an unbelievable four-minute, multi-part epic that barely manages to cloak its wistful longing for fleeting fame in metaphor—”The cake is baked but I much preferred the batter/Perhaps in part because it had so much potential/To be delicious and still be influential.” Brutal, but also gorgeous, an apocalyptic prom theme for king and queen runners-up, a “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You” for those God unfairly spurned. Eat a slice of fucking cake, already. Rob Harvilla

Sloan plays Bowery Ballroom January 18, boweryballroom.com

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