Title - 'Commonwealth' (Yep Roc)
Artist - Sloan
This past September, the Toronto-based quartet Sloan releaseed their 11th studio album, Commonwealth via Yep Roc Records. The 15-song collection sees Sloan creating one of the most unique and ambitious recordings of their two-decade-plus career.
Indeed, throughout their 20+ year tenure, Sloan has released 11 LPs, two EPs, a live album, a Greatest Hits album and more than thirty singles. The band has received nine Juno Award nominations, winning just one. The band is known for their sharing of songwriting from each member of the group and their unaltered line-up throughout their entire career thus far.
Sloan's new album is actually a musical work of art. You see, this is actually a double album, whether you have the 2LP vinyl version or the single disc CD version. This is because each of the four sides (think the LP for now) features a solo suite by a different band member!
So, these 15 tracks showcase just what a truly democratic group Sloan really are. Jay Ferguson, Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, and Andrew Scott all contribute original compositions to every record they bring out, and they have taken that to an extreme here with each taking a side to musically vent, so to speak.
Oh, and if you're not paying attention, the album's cover portrays the band members as four-of-a-kind kings. The suits of these playing cards correspond to the titles of their solo sides: Jay Ferguson's side is called Diamond, Chris Murphy's is Heart, Patrick Pentland's is Shamrock, and Andrew Scott's is Spade.
Now, admittedly Andrew Scott's fourth side (keep thinking vinyl) comprises of just the one track, 'Forty-Eight Portraits,' but trust me when I say it is the perfect finale song to this brilliant musical art. Coming in at an uber long 18 minutes, the perfect pop suite takes you on a ride the moment it comes on, and never lets you off until it wants to; nearly twenty minutes later.
This album is a gem, a real beauty, but if you are on the fence about it, let me finish with this. Commonwealth debuted at #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which is the band's highest position on that chart in their entire history! So, we can't all be wrong, can we?!