Sheer Mag – Compilation LP (Static Shock Records, 2017)

As you will have probably guessed from the title, this album is a compilation of Sheer Mag’s previous releases put out on one long player. I can see the appeal from this, as it means their work can be bought in one single package, but at the same time it also shows the band’s earliest efforts alongside some of their more polished work.

Frankly, I don’t think much of it is any good. I was thinking about writing something nice about a band’s early days but that’s patronising; and they got a ridiculously good write-up on Pitchfork so they hardly need me to be nice to them.

There are some positives. The lead guitar parts have some head-nodding moments, and it’s clear the person who plays them is capable of stringing some melodies together and leading the listener on a nice jaunt. I can certainly see why there was a mention of Thin Lizzy in the bio. Some of the songs manage to pass for things that I would listen to if they came on a rock radio station (tracks Hard Lovin’ and Can’t Stop Fighting, with Worth The Tears having a decent opening), but at no point would I feel the urge to turn up the volume. If anything, volume is not their friend.

Against that there’s a bunch of negatives that make me listen to this record with the hope that something better will come along, or that it’ll just end. The drumming is plodding at best, if you’re just there to keep time then fair enough but it’s a liability when all the songs are this slow. There are points where the two guitars strum chords where I can’t tell if they’re out of tune or just being shite. And the vocals don’t really have any compelling melodies. There’s a fair stab at having attitude, but it’s about as fierce as a wet lettuce.

I can’t really stretch this out any more. It’s not that I hate the record or anything, I just know that there’s plenty of better things of this style (like Thin Lizzy) which would be a much better use of your time. The pace of the record is a bit dull, it doesn’t have the hooks to compensate, and the few good points are more relief from the dire majority. None of this will stay with me, and I doubt I’ll spend time checking out what this band do, should they release another full-length.

Sorry. This is a 2/5 record that I have no intention of listening to now that I’ve finished this review.

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