“What do Tim Horton’s and Sloan have in common?” an editor asked, when I had inquired about Sloan’s popularity in Canada. The answer: “No one gives a shit about either of them in the US.” Coming from the States, I can say that this is fairly true. After all, how many Americans can sing along with “One thing I know about the rest of my life/I know that I’ll be living it in Canada”? Prior to the review, I was only vaguely familiar with Sloan’s work, so I went head-first into Never Hear the End of It with unbiased ears.
At 30 tracks long, Never Hear the End of It is a lot to digest at once especially for a new Sloan listener. It flows seamlessly, akin to Side B of Abbey Road, and features a relatively fair balance of all four songwriters in the group. Apart from the occasional ballad here and there, the album is straight-forward rock; chock full of handclaps and big background vocals.
Upon the first few listens, Chris Murphy’s tracks stand out the most. Murphy’s “Someone I Can Be True With” is a humorous depiction of his ideal woman, beaming that she’d be “Someone to watch Gremlins 2 with/And someone to not watch ‘The View’ with.” And perhaps the most memorable lyrics on the album are from Murphy’s “Set in Motion,” a catchy, tongue-in-cheek rocker about an eager director planning a movie based on his life. However, the true gems on this album are Patrick Pentland’s “I Understand” and “Ill Placed Trust.” The former is an epic pop number with soaring harmonies, bells and horns, while the paranoid, “Ill Placed Trust” is not only the heaviest rocker on the album, but dangerously infectious. Anyone, anywhere, would have to be deaf to not have “Ill Placed Trust” and its annihilating dual guitar and bass solo stuck in their heads for days.
Although it might seem that Never Hear the End of It would be a bit much for newcomers to Sloan, it perfectly showcases the extent of their talents for breezy pop perfection. Recognised in the US or not, Never Hear the End of It is one of the best pop-rock releases of 2006.