Published Nov 27, 2019Sloan were Canadian legends throughout their '90s heyday. Sam Roberts reigned supreme over mid-2000s airwaves. But it's arguably the glossy, gleeful sheen of younger True North rising stars Tokyo Police Club and Hollerado that characterize much of the tone of Anyway Gang, the eponymous debut of a super-group featuring members of all four of those well-established Canucks acts.
Throughout most of these brisk and blissful nine tracks, Tokyo Police Club and Hollerado frontmen Dave Monks and Menno Versteeg, respectively, offer peppy sing-alongs aplenty and hooks gargantuan enough to clog any arena. Frequent Hollerado producer Gus Van Go, meanwhile, helms this effort, ensuring the tone glistens like the most modern of rock gems.
Take "Everybody Cries," which features earnestly shrill singing and thunderclap percussion. Its refrain about relatable weeping would be a bland platitude, if not for the sincerity in the vocal delivery (and a goofy, breathless speak-singy midway breakdown that's sure to leave the Barenaked Ladies salivating with envy). "Eyes of Green" is all the more punchy and poppy, even though its toned-down tempo renders it practically a ballad alongside most of these other speedy tracks. Then there's "Square One," an endlessly jaunty piano-laden number, and "Only You," which is put over the top by its impassioned handclaps.
Roberts and Sloan's Chris Murphy — the relative elders in this supergroup foursome — are, of course, no strangers to radio-ready hooks. But their comparatively stripped-back pedigree makes for a jarring juxtaposition on production more typically associated with young bucks Monks and Versteeg. Regardless, the veteran rockers have a blast with that slickly trendy backdrop, bellowing and soloing along with youthful abandon, especially on the respective stadium rafter shaking opener and closer "Big Night" and "Lost Boy." So, yes, the Anyway Gang are a disparate crew, but that just makes for a uniquely fun combination. (Royal Mountain Records)