Number 2 in a series of tributes to favourite albums

2. Sloan – Navy Blues

I first heard Sloan because someone wrote a review for both Sloan’s One Chord To Another and You Am I’s Hourly Daily in the one review. The next time I ever heard of Sloan was seeing a half page ad for a new album in Drum Media. The ad, like all the band’s artwork from this era, looked fantastic. It was their nod to Saul Bass (I didn’t even know who Saul Bass was at this point) and some new single with the awesome name Money City Maniacs.

A few years later I would find out why this happened. The team of fans, publicists, managers and labels that led to this record being released locally, and actually having funding for ads. But for now, back then, I was 17 and going through the biggest exploration of rock and roll I would ever take.

It was years before I really found out more about this band, and that story involves my first real crush, the West Coast of Australia and some badly photocopied articles. But until then In would listen to this album, this wonderful 70s sounding rock album, still one of THE best sounding albums ever, and look at the photos in the center spread and wonder who these guys were.

They seemed like big nerds, but cool as hell. Jay looking great as (I would later find out) Phil Spector in Easy Rider. Jay and Patrick standing at vintage microphones, with Andrew on Headphones. Chris, my early and eternal favourite, looking just dead cool. My imagination just dug so many holes about these people. In my mind they were this huge sounding Beatles-esque rock band, with a huge sound crew and lighting rig, but they crawled into the smallest of Indie rock vans to travel the yellow lines and lonely highways.

This record has so much detail, and this band had such a profound influence on me (both politically, philosphically and guitar wise), but it’s important I think to note I loved this album before I found out the lyrics of Iggy And Angus is made up by Stooges songs, that Jay was the one who played the Rhodes heavy Queen like numbers, or that the cool piano sound was a Rhodes at all.

Almost all my rock and roll fantasies are wrapped up in this album. Looking back I think it put a ceiling on my ambitions. but listen to the high harmonies! The studio trickery! The guitar wooshes. You could make records that sounded like million selling Kiss albums, on an indie label. To this day, more than any other band, I would love to be in Sloan.

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