Following three hotly-received EPs, Sheer Mag deliver a loving and beautifully executed album in thrall to classic rock.
Well goddamn, we have a rock’n’roll album on our hands. Forget bands like The Amazons or Kasabian when we think about rock music of recent memory, this album translates into the ‘70s rock ethos of old. Sheer Mag from Philadelphia are comparable to some of ‘70s most iconic American rock outfits, including artists like Ted Nugent and Blue Öyster Cult. To get a real sense of what Sheer Mag’s instrumentation sounds like, simply listen to the New York Dolls’ self-titled 1973 debut album. Critics have also compared them to Thin Lizzy, which is not the best of comparisons largely due to Phil Lynott’s subtle poetic voice and the storytelling protocol on a lot of Lizzy’s tracks. Vocalist Tina Halladay is conversely sharper and harsher with her vocal work and the tracks on their debut Need To Feel Your Love touches mainly on issues regarding politics and love.
If history tells us anything, rock album covers with aviation have rarely diminished listeners’ expectations. Take Blackfoot’s Flyin’ High (1976), Uriah Heep’s High And Mighty (1976) and Budgie’s Squawk (1972) as examples of this trait. In addition to this, Sheer Mag’s emblem consists of long lines coming off the ends of the letters which entails an identifiable mannerism within the rock community. Need To Feel Your Love encompasses all of this as well as funky rhythms and even elements of folk to expand their horizons.
In a music industry where classic rock’n’roll is frowned upon and seen as old-fashioned and irrelevant, Sheer Mag are getting noticed and labelled by popular music outlets like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork as a band to seek out. Nothing but encouraging and assuring feedback was used when reviewing their three EPs I, II and lll which can be bought on iTunes, or streamed on Spotify, as Compilation (l,ll&lll). Now, onto the album at bay.
The title track and ‘Pure Desire’ incorporate the refreshing, funky rhythms of the album as Tina Halliday sings about the urges one feels when in love whilst ensconced in superlative chord progressions. The folky little ditty ‘Until You Find The One’ is also separate from the charisma of rock’n’roll. For the rest of the album, it’s rock upon rock upon rock. The instant eye-catcher is ‘Just Can’t Enough’ with guitar riffage that would make glam metal bands like Poison and Motley Crüe blush and quiver. The opening track ‘Meet Me In The Street’ is the pragmatic epicentre for the ‘70s rock vibe on this album that is shaped around the enchanting key of A.
The political side of proceedings comes into play profusely on ‘Expecting The Bayonet’ which seems to take a stab at last year’s U.S. Election. What’s interesting is the band don’t appear to be taking a swipe at President Trump himself but rather why he won in the first place. By far the heaviest track on the whole album is ‘Turn It Up’ with the ever-thrilling palm-muted E string chugging on the guitar. And as closing tracks go, ‘(Say Goodbye To) Sophie Scholl’ is one the best composed. Everything from the guitar melodies, Halladay’s voice and lyricism are right on the nail.
The influences on this record are non-stop, but the execution is done lovingly. Some of the most classic albums ever made require the listener’s utmost attention to enjoy it. Need To Feel Your Love demolishes this stereotype with its natural free-flow personality and, as a result, is outlandishly easy to listen to. As a classic rock addict, this album is a beacon of hope for the future of the disparaged and exiled genre. (8/10) (Harry Beynon)
Listen to Need To Feel Your Love here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Harry Beynon, Hart Seely, Ian Dykstra, Kyle Seely, Matt Palmer, Need To Feel Your Love, review, Sheer Mag, Tina Halladay, Wilsuns RC
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