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Sheer Mag — II


Opening II with a drum fill, Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag announces their return to the rock world. On “Fan The Flames” the band continues building upon their self-titled 7” release, forging ahead as a revelation of no-pretenses rock. Bassist Hart Seely is again credited with recording, while Brooklyn’s Katorga Works is releasing the record. Across II the band rides grooves into their exclamations of shrieks and wails. Now, though, the exclamations are coming out of a deranged dancehall. The bones of disco and R&B lay scattered about as Kyle Seely breezes through a solo. The energy is infectious as you bob along. To call II an extension of Sheer Mag’s live show is inaccurate. The record is its own show, orbiting within Sheer Mag’s galaxy. The charisma that snarls through Sheer Mag is sinister on II. Christina Halladay challenges us to “put up or leave.” This band is not joking about rock and roll. Are you buying in?

Sheer Mag is challenging us not only to stand up and rock, but also to look beyond the party. There is frustration when the band declares, “Like so many before us we find ourselves . . . with the rich and the cops against us.” As fun as Sheer Mag is on II, they are also asking us to commit. Halladay continues asking on “Button Up,” “When you see something that makes you sick do you put up or leave?” We are given only two options. You can bail on the experience or power through the negativity. At the end you may never fit in with the rich institutions of attractive like-minders who have been successfully bred and primed, but who cares? Sheer Mag announces every characteristic that can be held against them. The way they walk, the way they talk, the way they look: Sheer Mag embraces all the negativity. The insults still exist, but their power is diminished. Sheer Mag is still the band that gets our fists up in the air with their anthemic rock. With II the band is reminding us just what we can do with those fists.


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