After performing together for a decade and releasing six albums, these Canadians have become the granddads of 90s power pop, followed not only by their friends and neighbors (Super Friendz, the Flashing Lights) but by bands in the midwest (Frisbie, the Waxwings) and on the west coast (the Orange Peels) as well. Any other outfit with this much talent would have split up into several bands long ago, but somehow they've managed to keep it together, divvying up the albums among the four songwriters and playing musical chairs onstage. Their latest effort, Pretty Together (Murderecords), is less accessible than crowd pleasers like One Chord to Another (1996) and Navy Blues (1998), but it's slightly more adventurous, interpolating the band's overripe early-70s sound with more novel ideas. Long melody lines and elusive guitar figures snake through "The Life of a Working Girl," a sympathetic portrait of a woman who's playing catch-up after squandering her youth, and "It's in Your Eyes," a love song marred by the band's weakness for preening ("You're so crazy, crazy for me / And I know just why"). And "Your Dreams Have Come True," the easygoing number that closes the record, augments Sloan's standard ringing guitars and vocal harmonies with a sophisticated trumpet solo by Bryan Baird. In contrast to the band's previous album, recorded in six weeks, Pretty Together gestated for a year and a half, long enough for the members to let go of their egos and collaborate; it may not hit as hard as their calling-card records, but it yields more with each listen. Saturday, May 11, 11 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Louie Palu.