Music Review

Sheer Mag – Playing Favorites

todayFebruary 29, 2024 29

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By – Kristi Houk

Recommended if you like Thin Lizzy, Mannequin Pussy, Hop Along

It’s a new era for Philly based rock band, Sheer Mag. The band recently signed to Third Man Records (started by Jack White in Nashville) and have released Playing Favorites a killer album of 70’s rock mixed with theatrics and funk.

On title track, “Playing Favorites” it’s clear that the band fronted by bombshell, punk icon, Tina Halliday, has proven their stake in the rock game. When I say rock, I mean REAL rock and roll. No fat/only bangers. Think Thin Lizzy (the band’s favorite band) meets Joan Jett meets early, punk-y Elvis Costello with a dash of Keith Richards because you just have to include Keith. 

My favorite track (it’s hard to pick just one) is “Eat it and Beat It” Halladay’s snarling vocals are  in overdrive as well as the guitars, “You’re gonna fall, so make the call before we put you on the shelf.” “And when you hear that dinner bell ringing, you’re for whom it tolls.” OUCH. It’s a modern rock anthem – 100 percent unabashed-spit on your face-fuck you to the powers that be. The guitar melodies and riffs are irresistible on this album – fun, alive, and threatening. 

“Mechanical Garden” finds the band exploring more theatrical territory; leaning into that Queen early Slade vibe. Wait for the strings to come in…Glorious. The strings move into this murky Cocteau Twins sound and then move into an early Prince funky jam. WILD.

It’s refreshing to hear a straight up rock record in a music world filled with mostly tinkering and breathy vocals. Synths are out – rock is in. Get on board or be left in the dust behind a ’71 Z28.

Written by: kristi houk

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