A return to ’60s-style pop threatens to rear its head (again) any minute, but Sloan’s Navy Blues reveals this band had the right idea all along. The Canadian quartet’s new release continues their traditional guitar/bass/drums line up, adds a liberal sprinkling of piano and organ, and delivers energetic, guitar-based songs heavily influenced by Badfinger, The Beach Boys, 10 CC and Mott the Hoople. The inevitable Beatles comparisons are grounded in Sloan’s flirtation with the ambitious range of styles embraced on The White Album. Though Navy Blues tackles some satiric social commentary (“Sinking Ship” is wide open for interpretation on that score) Sloan never take themselves too seriously. The jaunty “Keep On Thinkin'” marries Dave Edmunds’ “Girl’s Talk” to Better Than Ezra’s “Good” while the call to party action of “C’mon C’mon” is so bouncy, perhaps a sheet of dryer softener was tossed into the final mix. The metal-riffed “Money City Maniacs” is a brilliant homage to arena rock anthems like AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and Thin Lizzy’s “Jail Break.” The delirious refrain, “And the joke is/ When he awoke his/ Body was covered in Coke fizz” hints at deeper meaning, but who wants to dig for it? “Chester The Molester” tells the tale of a local barfly whose questionable character is, ironically, at the core of his elusive appeal. “Suppose They Close the Door” pulls off a cool trick of splicing two songs together to create a subtle pop hybrid. When it comes to good rock music, all micro-genres aside, less is more. Sloan are set to move into the future of rock with a watchful eye in the rear view mirror.

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