Need to Feel Your Love by Sheer Mag, via Wilsuns Recording Company
Sheer Mag is the great American rock band that you thought had been lost to time. Marked by arena-ready guitar riffs and singer Tina Halladay’s raspy, hollering vocals, the band’s premier full-length release Need to Feel Your Love is a bellowing and anxious record that could easily be mistaken as a contemporary of Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Despite its discernible classic rock influences, the album effectively captures the zeitgeist of 2017 through a set of twelve romping tracks. On the album’s opener “Meet Me in The Streets,” Halladay asserts that “we’re throwing rocks at the boys in blue / silver spoon suckers headed for a fall and justice for all.” Later, on a standout track appropriately titled “Expect the Bayonet”, she brazenly declares (in response to Trump’s election by electoral college), “If you don’t give us the ballot – expect the bayonet!”
Need to Feel Your Love layers its anti-fascist punk lyricism over toe-tapping, finger-snapping melodies. While the pop hooks may make the record palatable for the bar or rock club, Halladay and co-lyricist Matt Palmer’s verses make antifa demands relatively foreign to the typical fare of those venues. I personally dislike the term “protest record” (it’s trivializing!) – however, with that said, Need to Feel Your Love begs to be played on the streets of the modern resistance. While acknowledging its place as a composition of the present (“Rank and File” is a militant love song for the Tinder era), the album is not afraid to recall the heroes of the past – “Suffer Me” is an aggressive retelling of the Stonewall Riots, while “(Say Goodbye to) Sophie Scholl” is an ode to a WWII-era anti-Nazi activist who was ultimately executed for treason. Even with the record’s heavy and oftentimes dark lyrical content, bassist Hart Seely’s production creates a sense of warmth that impregnates the entire body of work.
Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag have delivered the album to save rock and roll yet again. Need to Feel Your Love is a smart and arousing thrill-ride through the modern zeitgeist that already promises to stand the test of time, much like the enduring work of Zeppelin and Sabbath. Be sure to save a spot in your record collection for this one… but only once you’re done playing it on repeat.