Sheer Mag: A Distant Call (Wilsuns RC) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Sheer Mag

A Distant Call

Wilsuns RC

Aug 23, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Emerging from the Philadelphia DIY punk scene in the latter half of the decade, Sheer Mag have been a fun breath of fresh air. Taking the punk ethos and applying it to glam 1970s rock, two genres that at the time were at total odds with each other, gave a breezy air to their music. While all hugely talented musicians, this combination allowed for the band to musically not take themselves too seriously, while frontwoman Tina Halladay’s cutting lyrics and vocals gave them vital importance.

2016’s self-titled EP Collection, followed by 2017’s full-length debut Need to Feel Your Love, was chock full of brilliantly inventive songs and moments to make this unlikely combination work convincingly. On sophomore album A Distant Call, however, Sheer Mag have moved further away from their punk beginnings, admittedly something they’ve hinted at over their short career so far. The result is a double downing of their ’70s indebted rock sound, eschewing their more forward-thinking punk elements. While Halladay’s opening roar on “Steel Sharpens Steel” is an instantly attention-grabbing moment, the rest of the band settle into a moderate-rock groove that they do not remotely shift from until track four.

As a result, the more varied aspects of Need to Feel Your Love, which made it such a fantastic debut, have mostly disappeared, resulting in a less rewarding listen. Though lead-single “Hardly to Blame” is equally guilty of being mid-paced, the song is a catchy enough ditty, with Halladay’s performance remaining a hugely important part to Sheer Mag’s output. The record does pick up the pace in the second half, with “Cold Sword,” “The Killer,” and instrumental closer “Keen on Runnin” showing the Philadelphia quartet are still willing and able to push themselves forward in a pleasing way. However, it remains a case of too little, too late. (www.sheer-mag.com)




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