‘Need to Feel Your Love’ is a debut showcasing not only Sheer Mag’s prolific experience from their time governing the American DIY punk scene, but also their open influence from funk and pop in conjunction with their clear love for seventies hard-rock. While killer hooks and thrashing riffs are still a plenty, the Philly five-piece have burst their chains which have so far secured them to the underground scene. The cover art (shown above) for ‘Need to Feel Your Love’ is symbolic of their growth and position following the release of this debut: they are ascending into brighter yet unknown territory.
A video surfaced earlier this year of the band dressed up in their glad rags performing a rendition of Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ at a wedding in North Carolina. Complete with trumpets and dad-dancing the band performed without a whiff of satire. A little painful to watch for gritty die-hard punks perhaps, but a charming insight into a band who are otherwise known for their underground antics. While the album never verges into Shania territory it does flirt with power-pop and even old school hip hop with opener, ‘Meet Me in the Street’ toying with some Beastie Boys-esque riffs.
Throughout the album tracks fluctuate between the common and relatable topics of love and loss to more politically charged affairs. The title track and ‘Suffer Me’ which have both been released as singles share a country-twanged groove yet vary immensely in subject matter. The former is an ode to a previous passion, whereas the latter is a defiant stance against LGBT prejudice as singer Tina Halladay sings, “there’s no peace and there’s no crime in living this way,” while demanding, “you’ve got to suffer me, you’ve got to let me be.”
Lyrically, topics even delve into history like with the closing track ‘(Say Goodbye To) Sophie Scholl’ – a sobering and empowering ode to the White Rose Nazi resistance movement marked with the despairing reminder that racial oppression still exists in the modern world. No matter the subject Halladay’s raspy vocals always convey the impact with purpose and sincerity. Her inimitable tone which bellows through a lo-fi mic is the band’s firm anchor that has allowed them to add slick production without detaching from their garage-rock ties. While ‘Need To Feel Your Love’ may not be as coherent as as January’s ‘Compilation LP’ it has gallantly fanned the flames of DIY spirit once again.