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Sloan: Summer Pop Made Simple

The way the Canadian band Sloan does its job, you'd think there was nothing better in the world than being a rock star. Besides obviously loving every second of its music-making, Sloan scorns the modern trend of experimentation, upholding its power-pop roots with stubborn abandon. Now on their 11th album, the band members — so relaxed onstage that they often forgo a strict set list for spontaneous fan requests — keep nailing their effortless riffs, seamless transitions, and smart lyrics.

Sloan's new album, Parallel Play, is a solid notch in its career belt and adds to the best in its canon. "Believe In Me" is a perfect summer tune, best heard on car speakers at 70 mph. Even if the heart-pumping bass and awesome guitar solo didn't sell it, the words are perfectly suitable for shouting along: "If you believe that everybody needs to shake it loose / That everyone will rock and everybody will roll, yeah." Coming from Sloan, the message sounds downright profound.

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Afton Woodward