Be honest!

Sloan’s bassist looks for feedback
TORONTO (CP) – Sloan bassist Chris Murphy won’t be upset if some fans don’t like the band’s new album, as long as they’re honest about it.
“Never Hear The End Of It,” the Halifax foursome’s first studio album since 2003, includes a whopping 30 songs, ranging in length from just over 50 seconds to more than five minutes.
While Murphy says some listeners may have a hard time getting through the entire album, which clocks in at more than 76 minutes, he’s just hoping it generates some passionate feedback once it hits shelves Sept. 19.
“I don’t mind if this record is polarizing,” he said during a recent phone interview from his Toronto home. “I’d rather get reaction – whether positive or negative – that’s more extreme.
“There are going to be a lot of people who can’t get through the whole thing,” he said. “It’s dense.”
Murphy says the response to the band’s music has often been somewhere in the middle because “we’re nice enough guys and everybody wants us to do well.”
“I want people to say (about the new album) ‘This is totally what I love’ or ‘What the hell do they think they’re doing, those obnoxious assholes?”‘ he said. “I’d rather just generate talk.”
The album has a bit of everything, including upbeat pop, slower ballads and even a punk-influenced song. The first single, “Who Taught You To Live Like That?,” has a ’70s rock feel to it. The band’s trademark harmonies are also prevalent on the disc.
“We tried to make it so that it was varied enough so that it didn’t get boring to listen to so that one would want to listen to it the whole way through,” said Murphy.
All 30 songs are squeezed on one CD but the vinyl version had to be split into a dual-disc collection.
“Never Hear The End Of It,” recorded on the band’s label Murderecords, is Sloan’s eighth studio album and first new material since 2003’s 12-song disc “Action Pact.” Murphy said he was anxious to do something different this time.
“The last record we made, for what it’s worth, was quite succinct and short and very straight-ahead rock ‘n roll,” he said. “I just wanted to be as eclectic as we wanted to be on this record and not talk about what kind of songs were supposed to have – just sort of like whatever happens, happens.
Murphy said he liked “Action Pact,” but that it lacked something.
“It’s just not very eclectic, it’s just pretty straight-ahead,” he said. “And that wouldn’t have bothered me except for that that’s been our last record for three years or more.”
Murphy and bandmates Jay Ferguson, Andrew Scott and Patrick Pentland stuck to their traditional routine, each writing their own songs for the new album. Murphy alone contributed more than 10 tunes.
“I have a whole solo album hidden in this record,” said Murphy.
The album could almost be considered a compilation, a criticism that has been directed toward the band in the past. But Murphy doesn’t find that description offensive.
“It never bothers me,” he said. “For our last record, we tried to beat the compilation rap and make a cohesive-sounding record but to me it just ends up sounding very uni-dimensional.”
After some 15 years together, Murphy admits the band doesn’t always get along. Still, he’s proud of the fact Sloan has stayed intact.
“I think it’s cool that we’re still the same four people that we were in 1991,” he said. “I’m telling you, that’s really rare. It’s very hard to keep everybody interested and to keep everybody on the same page. There are not a lot of bands that have been going for that long with the same four people.”
Sloan is scheduled to play with the Rolling Stones on Sept. 23 in front of a hometown crowd at the Halifax Commons. It’s not the first time they’ve played with the legendary band after doing a couple Stones shows in Boston earlier this year.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Murphy. “It will be in Halifax and it’s right when our record comes out.”
So does Murphy see himself still rocking when he’s in his 60s like Mick Jagger?
“You tell me who is ahead of me in the line for rock iconship in Canada,” he joked. “You tell me.”