Sloan: Between The Bridges

Sloan: Between The Bridges

Sloan
Between The Bridges
(Koch)

The context: By 1999, Canadian power-pop act Sloan had long since left its grunge origins behind, and on two consecutive albums—One Chord To Another and Navy Blues—it reclaimed the strut and whoop of '70s arena rock for shaggy-haired bar-crawlers everywhere. The new direction made Sloan's members into stars at home, though in America, they remained a cult act, barely acknowledged by the music press, let alone radio or MTV.

The greatness: Between The Bridges completes a trilogy of albums about rock, relationships, and how absurd the world looks from an underdog's eyes. Though many dismissed the album as creatively arrested, its suite-like construction and autobiographical structure makes it Sloan's most fully realized effort. As always, all four members trade off songwriting, singing, and instrumental duties, supporting each other as they take turns fronting the band: Jay Ferguson with sweet AM pop like "Don't You Believe A Word," Chris Murphy with snarky rockers like "All By Ourselves," Patrick Pentland with earnest, rootsy ballads like "A Long Time Coming," and Andrew Scott with…

Defining song: …"Delivering Maybes," the record's closing anthem, and the one that ties up Between The Bridges' theme of lifelong friendships and perseverance. Barreling piano, snaky guitar, and tumbling rhythms drive to the chorus, "On and on we roam around this world / Delivering maybes / and baby, it's not that bad now." The song comes with a sense of happy resignation, summing up Sloan's existence in just over four minutes.