Few rock bands have flouted pop culture's Darwinist maxim "keep moving or die" as successfully as Canada's Sloan. Over the course of seven studio albums in more than a dozen years, the Toronto-via-Halifax quartet has expended practically no energy changing its power-pop formula. Of course, that's partly because they hit on a winning combination so early in their career: since stripping away the too obvious Beatles influence of their first efforts, they've deftly synthesized Beach Boys harmonies, Thin Lizzy arena-rock hooks, and the Raspberries' MOR pop. Greatness seems to be off the table at this point, but they've never released a bad album, and when they're on ("C'mon C'mon" on 1998's Navy Blues, say, or "Don't You Believe a Word" on 1999's Between the Bridges) they casually stack up the kind of sharp, compelling riffs that most indie popsters jealously ration out, one per song. The high points on the band's new Koch album, Action Pact ("False Alarm," "I Was Wrong"), are stronger than anything else in their catalog--Sloan may be something of a one-trick pony, but they're still getting better at that trick. The Kicks (see Spot Check) open. 18+. Saturday, May 22, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Matt Beverly.