Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sheer Mag

  • II 7" [Wilsuns RC/Katorga Works, 2015] **
  • III 7" [Wilsuns RC/Katorga Works EP, 2016] A-
  • Need to Feel Your Love [Wilsuns RC, 2017] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

II 7" [Wilsuns RC/Katorga Works, 2015]
Philly quartet with shrieky woman on top do indeed convert Skynyrd's "Gimme Two Steps" into their own "Fan the Flames," but I say they're headed for a Real Album and predict the remake will rock ("Fan the Flames," "Button Up") **

III 7" [Wilsuns RC/Katorga Works EP, 2016]
This not-actually-punky Philly rock quintet keeps upping the ante in four-song increments, here divided two political and two love. Tina Halladay's shriek doesn't clarify every consonant, I know. But if they didn't want you to know why she's hanging around so intense they wouldn't put the lyrics on their Bandcamp page. Above all they understand that the two poles actually aren't--"So hold fast to the ones you love/Before they're ripped away," on the political "Night Isn't Bright," signifies more acutely in this ripped-apart time than it did when it surfaced in March. Their punkiest move is to seize the intro to Television's "Venus." Not actually a punk band, remember. Also not a band that ever understood love as well as this one already does. A-

Need to Feel Your Love [Wilsuns RC, 2017]
The radical rabble-rousers' first full album is a good one for sure, but a misconception must be addressed. On record, at least, Tina Halladay does not have a "big voice"--a "gruff" "yowl" or "wailing typhoon." She's narrow and high-pitched, her intensity harder to take at 43 or indeed 26 minutes than at the 14 of her band's three EPs. I mention 26 because that marks the spot where the most fetching song here swallows the problem whole. It's a "disco" number called "Pure Desire" that departs from her fellas' '70s-band aesthetic only if you don't remember what a hell of a '70s band Chic was--a minor masterpiece that conveys how horny and consuming it can be just to lie next to someone you want to fuck. Elsewhere she craves love and defies authority in the equal measure that makes people want to overrate this band. Risk disco, guys. Maybe non-Berniacs will start getting the message. A-