Sloan – Twice Removed

Artist: Sloan
Genre: Power Pop
Title: Twice Removed
Label: Geffen
Format: CD
Musicians: Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson
Andrew Scott

Sloan is a Toronto-based rock/power pop quartet from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Throughout their over twenty-five-year career, Sloan has released 11 LPs, two EPs, a live album, a Greatest hits album and more than thirty singles. The band is known for their sharing of songwriting from each member of the group and their unaltered line-up throughout their career. All four members of Sloan write their own songs, and when they play live they switch instruments accordingly. Usually the band performs as follows: Murphy is on lead vocals and plays bass, Pentland is also on lead vocals and plays lead guitar, Ferguson plays rhythm guitar, and Scott plays drums. The most notable exception is when Scott picks up the guitar to play his songs; Ferguson and Murphy switch to bass and drums, respectively. Prior to 2006’s Never Hear the End of It, Ferguson and Scott would also play electric piano on songs that called for it; since joining in 2006 multi-instrumentalist Gregory Macdonald has handled all keyboard duties live and in the studio. While Murphy has written more of the band’s songs than any of the other members, Pentland is nonetheless responsible for having written many of Sloan’s most recognizable hits. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the fact that every member of the group has contributed at least two songs per album, with only the following exceptions:

The band was formed in 1991 when Chris Murphy and Andrew Scott met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax; Patrick Pentland and Jay Ferguson joined soon after. The band is named after the nickname of their friend, Jason Larsen. Larsen was originally called Slow One by his French-speaking boss which, with the French accent, sounded more like “Sloan”. The original agreement was that they could name the band after Larsen as long as he was on the cover of their first album. As a result, it is Larsen who appears on the cover of the Peppermint EP, which was released on the band’s own label, Murderecords.
Official website:

Twice Removed is the second album by Canadian rock band Sloan, released on Geffen Records in 1994. The album took seven weeks and cost $120,000 to record. It is considered to be one of the band’s best albums, as well as one of the greatest Canadian albums of all time. More melodic than their previous album, Smeared, Geffen gave the record little promotion because it defied the label’s commercially dominant grunge rock style of the time. Furthermore, the band was dropped from Geffen after Twice Removed’s release. After the band’s trouble with the label, they took time off from touring and writing, and were rumoured to have broken up. Inside are hand-drawn pictures of a drum kit and two men. Other images include a lady talking on the phone, a motorbike, and two dogs. On the back of the liner notes are drawings of cars and a binder with the title “Sloan” on it. On the back of the case, a snare drum with all the tracks’ names on Twice Removed engraved into its side is displayed.

Overall the album has good lyrics in all the songs and is well done power pop. There is a vinyl version, but I don’t know if it is good or not as the provenance is not known. It is also difficult to find.

1. “Penpals”– This is a great song and I can relate to it since I too have had and do have a few friends from around the world. The idea and lyrics came from when the band signed to Geffen and were looking through broken english fan letters to Kurt Cobain.
2. “I Hate My Generation”- This is a quintessential power pop song
3. “People of the Sky”- This song starts by sounding like it was recorded on a little portable tape recorder from the 70s on purpose, then it goes into sounding like the style of bands such as The Association. A really good job done on this one.
4. “Coax Me”– Solid power pop
5. “Bells On”– This is just an ok song.
6. “Loosens“- One of my least favorite tracks as the vocals are not that good, but the music is not bad.
7. “Worried Now”– This is a solid power pop song with a similar feel of bands like The Posies
8. “Shame Shame”– This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is strong power pop and reminds me of what it might sound like if The Doors and Red Kross had a power pop kid, this is what it would sound like.
9. “Deeper Than Beauty”- This song is not one of my favorites either as it is similar to track six
10. “Snowsuit Sound”- Well, this song is interesting, if nothing else with the fuzz bass, hand clap and straight beat snare drum.
11. “Before I Do” – This song clocks in at around 7 minutes. It starts as a poorly done ballad in my opinion with a microphone effect on the vocals. About one and half minutes in it starts to show signs of slight improvement, but never quite reaches that. This pattern continues through the song which also has terrible vocals in my opinion.
12. “I Can Feel It”– This last song has a regular pop feel and is a good song with some female backing vocals.


Samantha’s Favorite – Whatever Happened To Power Pop

Artist: Samantha’s Favorite
Genre: Power Pop
Title: Whatever Happened To Power Pop
Released: 1998
Label: KOGA40
Format: CD (Real Japanese import)
Musicians: Koji Ozaki-lead vocal, guitar, trumpet, Teruyuki Shimamura-lead guitar,background vocals, keyboards, Takuo Kasuya-bass, background vocals, Takashi Ikeda-drums, backing vocals
Producer: Samantha’s Favorite
Mastering Engineer: Hikari Mitsufuji

The title of this album asks the question: Whatever Happened To Power Pop. Answer: It went to Japan. What’s more interesting is how I got this CD.

I attended a local stop of the International Pop Overthrow tour back in 1999 at a park near me at the time. There were a bunch of bands that were finalists and they were taking votes at each stop to see who got the most votes to win the contest.

I was alerted by a friend of mine who was into power pop to check this band out. So the time came for them to take the stage, but it turned out that the bass player was MIA. He had gone to eat with someone in their entourage and had not returned and nobody knew where he was. One of the other guys in the band asked me through an interpreter if I played bass. (I don’t ). Finally after about 10 more minutes the bass player arrived and they started.
I was expecting some half-hearted effort and screaming in Japanese. That’s not what happened. These guys came on with an all out power pop assault, fine-tuned and sang in perfect English! I stood there thinking, “not only are these guys really good, but how did we go from not speaking or understanding a single word of English 15 minutes ago, to perfect sung English now”? It was a joy to watch these guys play and the crowd was really into them and they were very humbled by it all.
After the set, they came off the stage and walked over to me. (I was active in the music scene, not necessarily the pop music, but none the less, they did not know I was working in the music scene, so I think it was just that I happen to be standing there and they saw me first. They had this really nice girl with them, she was an interpreter and also had some business position with the band. Through her, the lead singer started talking to me asking what I thought and I gave deserved high marks, they really gave what power pop is to the crowd. After a few minutes the voting started and they won. It was a big deal apparently because they actually started crying in joy! After composing themselves and thanking everyone all over the place, they came back up to me and wanted to talk some more.
There was some more interpreter back and forth and I asked her how it was that they can’t speak or understand a word of English in conversation, but sing perfect English in music. The answer was that they understand music is the universal language. How did they know what I was thinking?! (That is an example of the power of music)!
Actually, it’s true and made a good point. So through their interpreter (who was having more fun chatting with me as well for some reason), the lead singer and the rest asked who some of my favorite bands were. I said the first one, “Rush” and they recognized it  and all said, “ah, yes, Rush” enthusiastically with thumbs up to me standing there with a somewhat surprised and delighted look. Every band I named they knew and liked and tried to talk about with very broken English. Wow, “A” for effort!. They wouldn’t stop, so we went on like that with a bit of help from the girl with them for another 20 minutes and then it was time to go. The singer reached into his shoulder bag he had with him and pulled out this very CD and had told me through the girl to hold on before he gave it to me. He signed it and then had all the others sign it too and all in English and humbly handed it to me for which I was very grateful, they did not have to do that. The interpreter girl thanked me too and gave me a hug, I don’t know why. And that is how I got this CD.

I’m not going to break down the songs, but I can tell you that if you like power pop and like it pure, these guys deliver. Unfortunately, I can’t find any examples on YouTube nor would I know where to get their CD.