Sydneysider Sloan Peterson (born Joannah “Jo” Jackson) personifies rocking, beach-pop vibes, with great harmonies and catchy storytelling. Her preceding EP – Midnight Love (2017) – was of particularly good taste. Debut album Midnight Love Vol. 2 continues the short and delightful ditties, bringing something unique and refreshing to the Australian indie scene.
Jackson takes her stage name from the protagonist’s girlfriend in the classic rebel film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And just like her namesake (Sloane Peterson played by Mia Sara in the 1986 John Hughes film), she has got the style and sass to match.
Influenced by her dad’s Beatles, Roy Orbison, and 60s records and sounding older than her years as a result, her music draws from nostalgia, combining 1950’s guitar pop and modern garage rock, to create something new.
The retro links are obvious, from the very 70s looking floral record cover to the title referencing Marvin Gaye’s 1982 album of the same name. The theme is carried over in Jackson’s op-shop style and is known for her fashion work, including the interactive fashion video for previous single 105, which was featured by Vogue. Despite the vintage roots, Midnight Love Vol. 2 is clean and fresh, being produced by Chris Collins (Middle Kids, Skeggs) and mixed by Thomas Rawle (DRELLER / Papa Vs Pretty).
Sloan Peterson is not your typical Aussie music fare. There’s strong Strokes and New York influences (most noticeable on New Direction and Here) with a bit of Best Coast’s Californian vibe (Our Love, Midnight Love).
From first loves to heartbreak, whether it’s the cutting break up in Very Like You, or the nervous teenage love full of anticipation and longing in the title track, Midnight Love Vol. 2 explores all the emotions in between. Sadness and loss are cheerfully and perhaps pragmatically explored (“Our love has gone, what are we gonna do now?”) in Our Love. Missing Me is a cheeky, teasing blues jam that doesn’t make any apologies (“I want you to think of me when you fall asleep, and you got yourself in too deep, and you’re missing me”).
Jackson attests that she is as good a rock musician as a lyricist on highlights New Direction, opener Don’t Get Me Started and closer Here, the latter proving that doo-wop is making a strong comeback. Thankfully, cracking first single 105 has made it onto the album, clearly one of the standout tracks from the Sloan Peterson catalogue.
When packaged, the tracks flow together nicely in under 30 minutes, suggesting the contemporary attention span of on-demand listeners mightn’t be able to handle much more. But we certainly could and Sloan Peterson’s impressive debut album leaves us wanting even more.