Reviews

Wilsuns Recording Company

Sheer Mag A Distant Call LP

I’ve got mixed feelings on this release. I was first put on to SHEER MAG five years ago when I was chatting with some locals and ex-pats on the patio of the Ramones Museum in Berlin. We got to talking about THIN LIZZY and one of them championed SHEER MAG so hard that I sought them out as soon as I had another wi-fi connection. Holy smokes, they’re great at power pop. Christina’s voice is so fucking incredible and like no other. On “Silver Line,” she belts out “I need a siiiiilver line” and it gives me chills to hear those notes stretched out over several beats. I also particularly love the mellow vibes of that song as well as the transition into a anxious melody in “Hardly to Blame.” Plus those THIN LIZZY distorted guitar lines punch through in the verse. “Blood From a Stone” is another that brings more of the well-worn method of songwriting that SHEER MAG has given us over the years. While I don’t like to pigeonhole bands into a sound, I don’t always love when I’m hit with something totally out of left field. So the opener “Steel Sharpens Steel” threw me for a loop with Christina’s power metal wail breaking through and the palm-muted guitar riffs. Songs cover subjects like classism, body positivity, and human rights, among others. Overall I like this record, though personally I could stand for an entire catalog of songs like “Fan the Flames” and “Nobody’s Baby.” Glad that the band is growing, but I’m happy to have them fly close to their roots.

The Smarthearts On the Line LP

If you like your power pop as crunchy, sugary and addictive as your favorite childhood cereal, On the Line will have you slurping the milk dregs from the bowl. Timeless riffs choogle along while guitar hooks interplay with effortless precision, as the vocals push ever-so-slightly into the red. The SMARTHEARTS fall somewhere between the retro revivalism of GENTLEMAN JESSE and the classic ’70s FM of early TOM PETTY. If this sounds up your street, you will probably not be disappointed.