Picks and Pans Review: Navy Blues

updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Sloan (Murderecords/Never Records Group)

Album of the week

In 1994 this pop quartet's second CD made Spin's list of the "10 Best Albums You Didn't Hear." Last year their third, One Chord To Another, despite critical acclaim comparing the jaunty tunemakers to the Beatles and Elvis Costello, was a musical mirage: It practically evaporated into thin air when EMI Records closed shop after corporate restructuring. Chalk it up to bad luck. Or to the band members' poor choice of birthplace. With their melodic, hook-heavy, '60s-style pop sound, appealing harmonies and sharp, ensemble songwriting skills, Sloan's passport could easily carry a British stamp. They are an import, indeed, but not from rockin' ol' England. They hail from Halifax, N.S., a Canadian province not known for launching pop invasions of the U.S. That may change with this nicely packaged, self-produced album. Some tunes, such as "C'mon C'mon (We're Gonna Get It Started)" and "Keep On Thinkin'," are as unabashedly Beatlesesque—with jangly guitars, spirited vocals, even hand claps and shouts of "yeah, yeah, yeah" propelling the appealing arrangements—as anything put out by Badfinger, Squeeze, Oasis and other bright, proudly derivative Brit pop outfits who have come before them.

Bottom Line: '60s-flavored pop served smokin' from Nova Scotia

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