YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: #72 in Canada
SINGLES: Underwhelmed (#1 Canadian Content, #25 US Modern Rock), 500 Up, Sugartune (#4 Canadian Content), Take It In, I Am the Cancer
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh heck no.
LINEUP: Jay Ferguson (not the one from Spirit), Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Andrew Scott
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from Halifax’s own Sloan wears their influences on its sleeve, to the detriment of some of the songs.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sloan had released an EP in Canada in 1991, and during the Nirvana frenzy they got a DGC record contract because they kinda sounded like a power pop version of Sonic Youth.
In Smeared, DGC got an imperfect album that showed Sloan’s great potential. The less ‘sonic goop’ on the songs, the better they were. Sloan’s strengths were its songwriting with hooks and melodies, and while they were influenced by Sonic Youth, the Pixies, et. al. distortion wasn’t their strength. That means some good songs were lost in unneeded noise. This is coming from a reviewer who doesn’t mind noise one bit – it just didn’t work here.
Underwhelmed is the song that makes the album, though 500 Up and a few others are definitely worthwhile. I’m a big Sloan fan, and there’s enough good stuff here to keep it all. The troubling songs just have a lot of noise. Maybe Sloan needs to revisit the album in a stripped down way?
NOTES & MINUTAE: The band had only formed in 1991 – they worked fast in getting the deal! Also, this record was recorded for just $1200. Not bad.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B-: It was a decent debut. Better things would come, and soon