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Parallel Play

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The boiled down brother to their 30 song magnum opus ''Never Hear the End of It'',''Parallel Play'' is the latest from power pop royalty Sloan. Less a conscious answer to NHTEI's unabridged creative approach, ''Parallel Play'' is a continuation of the musical concepts put forth on their last album and a further exploration of the band's four-songwriter dynamic. A term taken from the science of developmental psychology, ''Parallel Play'' is a behavior seen in young children in which they enjoy independent activities in the company of other children, something the four boys in Sloan know a lot about. As per their unique musical modus operandi, the members of Sloan wrote songs independently and then joined forces in the studio to produce yet another album of timeless, guitar-driven pop. For Sloan, ''Parallel Play'' proves once again that four times the songwriters equals four times the rock. ''Parallel Play'' will also be available on vinyl.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • ASIN: B0018JKFT8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,954 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In another time (maybe 1976) or a parallel universe, this album would instantly become the hit it deserves to be. For the uninitiated, this is the same kind of smart, catchy pop-rock that you'd find on Revolver [UK], mixed with the proto-cruch-rock of Cheap Trick (Heaven Tonight) and a dash of classic punk (Ramones Mania) in a perfect, lump-free blend. It's the kind of stuff that is never exactly popular but continues to exist just under the radar (other great and fairly recent examples include Grand Prix, Crashing the Ether and Utopia Parkway). It's truly timeless music, and I am sure that I will still be listening to these albums years from now while stuff like Vampire Weekend winds up in the used bins at whatever record store still exists.

Up until last year my favorite Sloan discs were One Chord to Another and Action Pact, each representing a different side of Sloan.
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Format: Audio CD
Fifteen years into their recording career, Canada's Sloan has pulled back from the White Album length, breadth and experimentation of 2006's Never Hear the End of It to craft this tight set of thirteen guitar rock tunes. While the thirty track sprawl of Never Hear the End of It wasn't as disjointed as the Beatles' magnum opus, it offered a similar summing of parts, pulling together threads that had been woven through the bands earlier albums. In contrast, this shorter set is more focused and integrated, including second-side-of-Abbey-Road song-to-song segues that help knit together the multiple songwriter's works. Though it may not be as intellectually impressive as their previous release, the constricted space amplifies the emotional impact of the band's energy, pouring terrific pop hooks on top of powerful electric guitars, multipart vocal harmonies, stomping rhythms, and neo-psych production touches.

Beneath the sunshine-pop melodies and textures, the lyrics are surprisingly philosophical, with particular attention paid to the changes wrought by growing up and aging. The two clearest statements, "I'm Not a Kid Anymore" and "Down in the Basement" survey personal and band histories with diametrically opposed viewpoints. The former gazes longingly at a youth free of responsibility and bemoans the singer's current adult circumstances.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If they had put out a clone of Never Hear the End of It people would have hated it. So I'm glad they went a new direction, it compliments both cds. About half the songs are similar to Never Hear and are very good. The other half are a catchy Punkier sound, the anadote to Never Hear. So I'm pleased. New music is always cool.
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Format: Audio CD
2006's NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT was Sloan's longest album. While I haven't checked the timings, I would be willing to bet that PARALLEL PLAY is their shortest. I absolutely don't understand previous reviews that identify only a couple of great songs. There are a couple of bland songs (in particular the final track, "Too Many"), but most of the rest are either good or extremely good. For instance, "Emergency 911" is a very good song, but I would rate at least six songs better. Even by Sloan's admittedly exceptionally high standards this is a very good album. I might rank it below TWICE REMOVED, ONE CHORD TO ANOTHER, ACTION PACT, and the aforementioned NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT, but I would put PARALLEL PLAY next, maybe alongside NAVY BLUES. But Sloan is one of those bands like Sleater-Kinney or Spoon that just seems to be capable of spitting out an unending number of remarkably fine discs. Anyone unfamiliar with Sloan getting acquainted with them through this disc would be amazed to learn that they have several that are better.

Since people here are mentioning their favorites, I'll add mine. "Witches Wand," "Burn for It," "Believe in Me," "Cheap Champagne," "Down in the Basement," and "I'm Not a Kid Anymore" are all, in my opinion, first rate songs. Others are merely good. But even so I also like "The Dogs" and other cuts. The only pseudo-complaint that I think someone could make about the album is that it doesn't cut new ground. But so what? Even if it repeats previous successes, they are great repeats.

I did get a huge kick out of "Down in the Basement," intended as an obvious rip of Bob Dylan. Sometimes the guitar playing puts you in mind of HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED with Michael Bloomfield on guitar, sometimes the Basement Tapes, with fellow Canadian Robbie Robertson. But if you are a fan of Dylan, the song is a delight.
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