Let me start by saying if you don’t like 70’s rock throwback bands, this is not the album review for you. It’s definitely been an up and down 20 years of revivalism from the good (The Darkness), the bad (Airbourne), the inbetween (Danko Jones) and the god awful (Wolfmother). Sheer Mag is unapologetic and that’s a fair thing – from their image to their logos and their videos. It’s campy, but that whole era was campy.
From the first guitar lines and four on the floor drumming on album opener ‘Meet Me in the Street,’ you can just see the smoke machines working overtime in a tiny club somewhere in Philly. Tina Halladay – an atypical frontwoman for this kind of schlock – owns every inch of her sneer. Her voice walk the razor’s edge between being perfectly suited and perfectly grating. Title track ‘Need to Feel Your Love,’ is aided by a heavily leaned upon Jackson 5 boogie.
Upon continued listens there are few highlights that truly help it stand out. ‘Rank and File’ is one of the more concise tunes clocking in at under three minutes and summarizes what one could really do with this album. ‘Turn It Up’ is pure KISS and ‘Suffer Me’ is a southern-drenched Lynyrd Skynyrd come-on if ever there were one. I dare you to watch the supporting video and not think of Phantasm when the Grim Reaper saunters through the mausoleum. I kept thinking ‘Where’s the ball??’ [Editor’s note: I believe they were ‘orbs’, Kevin ;)]
The rest of the album offers more of the same various paced and tempo’d tunes showcasing Kyle Seely’s various riffs and a proficient rhythm section. Album closer ‘(Say Goodbye To) Sophie Scholl’ is strong and owes a subtle underlying nod to Fleetwood Mac.
If anything, this album helped me to understand Coheed and Cambria’s complete aping of the sound but applying it to the hot genre in their moment (emo). The reason some of these send up bands don’t move the needle is that the majority of these riffs were already written and done better by the predecessors. I don’t know where to tell the band to take their sound. Maybe Tina Halladay cleans up some of the huskiness and delivers more memorable vocal performances (see Caleb Followhill on each progressive KOL album after Aha Shake Heartbreak). If this somehow puts this band on the map, bully for them…I’ll be expecting keyboards on the next one. I think I’ll chose self love over another spin of this one and go play some Thin Lizzy or AC/DC.