Music lovers covet two things: bootlegs and vinyl. Canadian rockers Sloan brought together the best of both worlds for their fans with last yearâ€™s Is That All I Get?, a recording of the bandâ€™s 1993 performance in Winnipeg. Australia 1999, a limited edition pressing of one of their shows in Sydney, follows this model but with a twist. This time, the audio is recorded directly from the soundboard, making the quality that much better.
There are some live moments that deserve capturing, and though Australia 1999 doesnâ€™t capture the entire gig, the album is still littered with magical moments. â€œLosing Californiaâ€ features a ridiculous riff, which is pretty impressive until â€œSensory Deprivationâ€ comes along. This track sprawls on for seven minutes, with more than two minutes dedicated to a jaw-dropping guitar duel.
There are a few moments when the quality is less than what would be desired. The vocals to â€œThe Lines You Amendâ€ are difficult to hear, which is a shame because the single is a charming slice of Beatlesque pop. Fortunately the next song, â€œFriendship,â€ comes through loud and clear, complete with another quality guitar onslaught.
For Sloan fans, this will be an essential addition to their collections or a reminder to go back to the bandâ€™s back catalog prior to 2000. It likely wonâ€™t win over a new audience, but itâ€™s a wonderful indulgence for band and audience both, especially those who were there for the extreme rocking out that night in Sydney.
The album can be purchased here.