August 22, 2006

Album Review

It's nice to know some things don't change. More than a dozen years after his last album and 40 years since he penned the epochal pop-protest number "Eve of Destruction," P.F. Sloan is still writing worthwhile pop songs with smart, impressionistic, and somewhat off-kilter lyrics, and Sailover confirms time has been quite kind to his muse since he last entered a recording studio. Sailover is not built from the same sort of Brill Building materials as Sloan's best-known work of the '60s (either as recorded by the songwriter himself or through such clients as Johnny Rivers, the Association, the Turtles, the Grass Roots and lots more); these days, Sloan and producer Jon Tiven go for a simpler approach (guitar, bass, drums, keys) that not only emphasizes the rootsy leanings of his melodies but brings out the Dylanesque side of his songwriting, which doesn't manifest itself in extended lyrical abstraction but a clear desire to write of the personal and the political with the same draw. While Sloan has resurrected a few old favorites for this set (including "Eve of Destruction," "From a Distance," and "Sins of a Family"), the new material makes it clear the man has been keeping his songwriting chops in solid shape; "Violence" and "PK and the Evil Dr. Z" speak clearly with the same mordant wit that he's summoned in his best-known music, while the compassion and warmth of "Love Is 4Giving" and the wanderlust of the title tune prove that while he's mellowed a bit, he's also learned what to make of it. And even when he does revisit the past, the mournful weight of the new recording of "Eve of Destruction" (with guest vocals from Frank Black and Buddy Miller) and the bitter eloquence of Lucinda Williams' verses on "Sins of a Family" show that some protest songs never die, they just remain uncomfortably relevant. Sailover shows P.F. Sloan still has songs in his bag that are well-worth hearing, and he has a gift for making them work in the studio; this is the work of a man who ought to be making records more often than once every 13 years, if he's so inclined and we're so fortunate.
Mark Deming, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Sins of a Family
  2. Violence
  3. If You Knew
  4. Soul of the Woman
  5. Eve of Destruction
  6. Halloween Mary
  7. All That Time Allows
  8. Hollywood Moon
  9. Where Were You When I Needed You
  10. Love Is 4Giving
  11. Cross the Night
  12. Sailover
  13. PK & The Evil Dr Z
  14. From a Distance
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