Sheer Mag's music makes you want to pull that '70s Firebird out of the garage and go for a ride.Wilsuns RC, 2017
8.5 / 10
Sheer Mag turn it on thick with the bio for their official debut, which arrives after three solid EPs. So says the press release, “On Need To Feel Your Love, they make their first full-length declaration of light seen just beyond our darkness. Spoken plainly, without shame: It is love.” Hence, the cover art where a plane is leaving behind the darkness and flying into an opening of light. Sheer Mag fight back against the darkness on their debut. Their past EPs were often declarations of political protest. They’ve put up fights against gentrification, the police, and anyone oppressing the underprivileged. Pretty much anything that’s currently trendy to get angry over. Here, Need To Feel Your Love is no different. But instead of a short burst of awesome, we get a longer one.
The band often earn comparisons to Thin Lizzy for the band’s raucous guitar riffs. Indeed, Sheer Mag’s lead guitarist Kyle Seely shreds with more grit and grime than perhaps than anyone on the Castle Face roster. His fiery riffs meld beautifully with frontwoman Tina Halladay’s scorching vocals. Her voice reminds me of Deer Tick’s John McCauley. His voice sounds like he abuses his on a nightly basis with alcohol and cigarettes. This is a compliment to Halladay because her singing conveys an experience of heartbreak and pain that so few can match.
It especially carries through on Need To Feel Your Love‘s love songs, including its title track. When she sings the chorus, “And baby I need to feel your love/ Baby, I need to be a part of/ Your everything,” her voice intersects with a guitar riff for an ear-splitting sonic howl. Such intense emotion is rarely ever captured in the studio versus a live performance. Then, on “Pure Desire”, Sheer Mag curtail their somewhat ’80s metal riffs for something funkier (slappa tha bass). Halladay even softens her voice briefly. Then, once she gets to the chorus, it’s her familiar growl that we love so much.
But if you’re an old school Sheer Mag fan, then you want to know about the protest songs. Well, Need To Feel Your Love has your back. And immediately. The album opens with such a song, “Meet Me In The Street”. Here, Halladay sings about not backing down from a fight no matter who the opponent is. She sings, “We’re throwing rocks at the boys in blue.” It’s a line I don’t necessarily agree with but shows her conviction. However, Sheer Mag deliver probably the best anti-establishment song of the year with “Expect the Bayonet”. “And I been reading the news and you’ll surely regret/ If you don’t give us the ballot/ Expect the bayonet,” Halladay sings with a frothy anger.
Even if you don’t agree with the band’s political views, it’s hard to argue against these songs. They’re so damn catchy and ballsy. And they’re often relatable. The general idea of “Turn It Up” is using music as a way to drown out all of the surrounding bullshit. Surely, many of us do that on a daily basis. This is a great album for that.