Photo Credit: By Marie Lin
SHEER MAG have given us one last glimpse into their impending new album A Distant Call which sees its release this Friday via Wilsuns RC. Today they hit with “The Killer.”
Of the single, front woman Tina Halladay explains, “There are many killers out there. The Killer is a liar with a stranglehold on the world. The Killer is a war criminal the corrupt of society have produced and protected. The Killer spends his life covering up atrocities and defending right-wing dictatorships. The Killer stifles accountability and truth. We want to know, when does The Killer die?”
SHEER MAG are still writing about surviving our current hellscape, but this time around, the politics get extra-personal. It’s heavy power-pop so sleek it gleams. The album verges on being a concept piece, and the protagonist resembles Halladay herself. The songs document a particularly alienating time in her life when she was laid off from a job. Broke and newly single, her father (with whom she had a fraught relationship) passed away, leaving her with more wounds than felt possible to heal.
A Distant Call makes an argument for socialism on an anecdotal level. We’re talking about how late capitalism alienates and commodifies whatever is in its path without using the term ‘late capitalism.'” Matt Palmer (guitar / lyrics) and Halladay‘s new approach to lyricism extended to the recording process, too. Once the Seely brothers, Hart (bass) and Kyle (lead guitar) laid down the tracks, Halladay joined forces to record with acclaimed producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Code Orange) as opposed to on an 8-track, which was the band’s preferred method on previous releases.
SHEER MAG‘s dizzying rise initiated in 2014, when the Philadelphia band self-released the first of three 7-inches and started playing the Northeastern DIY circuit. Ironically, the music stood apart because it sounded so familiar. Indebted to ’70s arena rock, power-pop, and proto-metal, SHEER MAG‘s songs reminded a lot of us of the music we grew up with, but maybe couldn’t relate to because it was big, brash, and unapologetically macho. SHEER MAG reclaimed some of that energy without perpetuating the toxicity.
On their debut album, Need to Feel Your Love (2017), the band surveyed their contemporary political landscape through the lens of history. The band transported themselves back to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, denounced redlining practices that undermine the popular vote, and paid homage to White Rose activist Sophie Scholl. Those songs stick today as hook-laden, rallying cries.
SHEER MAG kick off an extensive North American tour at the end of this month. Check here for pre-order info.