Opening with the swirling drone ballad of \"Am I Lovely\" (and its achingly simple refrain \"Asking each other/Since we’re together/Am I lovely?\"), the album then breaks into the brilliant frazzled funk of \"Love Don’t Change\", a staple of Chenaux live shows for many years (and a very different version of which was recorded some time ago with recurring collaborator Michelle McAdorey on vocals). On this take, the unique whammied fuzz of Aimee Dawn Robinson\'s electrified echo harp punctuates the chord changes while Nick Fraser\'s phenomenal and fluid drum work relentlessly sparks the syncopation. Chenaux busts out with an exuberant guitar solo over the tune\'s supple funk, driving home the song\'s declaration of a lover\'s simple striving: \"We could still be friends/ But we could eat sweet things at night/I want to slow this city down and be with you in still life\". It\'s an awesome and giddy display of guitar chops, but more importantly, wholly motivated by the song\'s underlying lyrical and (un)sentimental intent.
Third track \"Rest Your Daylights\" is a truly gorgeous twilight lullaby, perhaps the closest thing to a classic ballad on the album, marked by subtle slide-guitar textures winding around the main guitar arpeggios, and a perfectly restrained vocal performance from Chenaux. Side A closes with \"Have I Lost My Eyes\", the first of three trademark \'funk-marches\' on the album, with Chenaux conjuring a Highlands-folk spirit where extended melodic lines form the compositional backbone of the piece, percussion is joined in unison to the melody\'s rhythmic phrasing, and the guitar behaves like psychedelic bagpipes. This re-channeling of traditional Scottish tropes works to similarly captivating effect on \"Boon Harp\" and \"Old Peculiar\", which form the centerpieces of the album\'s second side. Side B winds down elegantly with \"Dreaming Of Stars\", featuring one of the record\'s sweetest and most elaborate melodies, and \"Sloppy Ground\", the title track and album closer, with its plangent images of winter, city and memory driven by a lover\'s absence.
Chenaux has rallied some of Toronto\'s finest \'out\' players for Sloppy Ground, including Nick Fraser on drums, Ryan Driver on amplified melodica and synths, David Prentice on violin, Doug Tielli on 5-string banjo, Martin Arnold on electric tenor banjo, and Aimee Dawn Robinson on electric echo harp. Chenaux\'s own guitar work has never been more thrillingly deployed in the context of (relatively) conventional songcraft.
Recorded by Jeff McMurrich at Halla Music in Toronto (with additional tracking by Efrim Menuck at Thee Hotel2Tango in Montreal) and mixed and mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket in Montreal.