Nearing the end of it | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Nearing the end of it

Sloan is almost finished plugging its massive eighth record, but Chris McCluskey manages to catch up with the band before its big Halifax show.

Sloan train a-comin’ Jay Ferguson, Andrew Scott, Patrick Pentland and Chris Murphy rock it Hali-style.

Just shy of a year after the release of Sloan's eighth—and full-length redefining—album Never Hear the End of It, the quartet is home in Halifax for a visit before making arrangements to head back into the studio.

"I don't know what is going to be, if it'll be another 30-song opus or not," says vocalist and guitarist Jay Ferguson. "It could be a really counteractive, quick, 10-song record. But I am looking forward to making this new album.

"I have a bunch of songs on the go. I know Chris has some, and we all have some that are left over from other records," says Ferguson. "Hopefully, yeah, sometime in the next couple of months we'll start making a new record for sure."

Although they're already thinking about their next record, enthusiasm within the band—and fan circles—for Sloan's latest album remains fervent, with Never Hear the End of It's first proper video having made its debut only three weeks ago. Andrew Scott's "I've Gotta Try" follows a succession of radio singles and a trio of Super-8 videos (for "Flying High Again," "I Can't Sleep" and "Someone I Can Be True With") released independently online by the band. Ferguson says that while Sloan sees the value in occupying television airtime, logistical challenges kept the band from filming a video until just recently.

"We more just didn't have our act together properly to do a "Who Taught You to Live Like That' video, at the time. The record was sort of backed up a little bit, and when it came out we had to tour right away," he says. "We didn't have the video side of it down. I can't remember exactly why, but a couple of things fell through and we ended up starting to tour. We were like "Yeah, we'll do a video' and just never did."

The period between the release of the album and the release of the new video—originally a treatment presented to the Red Hot Chili Peppers—has been resoundingly positive for the quartet, which also includes guitarist Patrick Pentland and drummer Andrew Scott.

The album's strong international response has generated more favourable buzz than Sloan's three previous records combined, with transcontinental recognition south of the border from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times. The response has also paved the way for Sloan to tour Australia (although not for the first time) and earned them support slots for both The Rolling Stones and The Police.

"We also got tonnes of good reviews out of Norway," quips Ferguson.

"Definitely from a press point of view it seems to have gotten more attention than, say, our last record or maybe the last couple of records. Part of it has to do, particularly in the States, with being on a proper label down there," says Ferguson, referring to the band's Yep Roc deal. "So it's gotten a little bit more of a push."

While one of Sloan's stops with the Stones was on the Halifax Common, followed by a loose, cover-laden performance at The Seahorse, this Friday will be the group's first headline appearance in support of the album. It will also be a Sloan/Halifax first—the band has never performed at The Marquee Club, and Ferguson affably admits he's never stepped foot inside the venue. While it will be some time before we've heard the end of this one, Friday will represent one of the last calls in promotion of the record as Sloan begins looking to album nine.

"I am really glad with the way it turned out. It's one of my favourite records, the last album. I like it so much that I am kind of frustrated, like I don't know what we'll do next. Do you know what I mean?" says Ferguson. "I am kind of nervous...I am looking forward to it, but I don't know what we're going to do to top it."

Sloan w/The Stance, August 3 at The Marquee Club, 2037 Gottingen, 10pm, $20adv/$25door, 494-3820,

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