Sheer Joy from Philly’s Sheer Mag

Philly based Punk Band, Sheer Mag, releases their new album, A Distant Call.

Philadelphia has never lacked for brazen, scuzzy, garage-punk bands with issues to be raised and hard points to be made. South Philly’s Sheer Mag seemingly just does it best.

Since 2014, the rugged power-pop outfit, fronted by mighty vocalist Christina Halladay – with lyrics mostly by guitarist Matt Palmer, along with Halladay – has held its own destiny in its hand, releasing music through their Wilsuns Recording Co. label.

First releasing an eponymous EP that made its ideas against gentrification known (the song “Point Breeze”), the rough-edged outfit inspired by The Clash and Thin Lizzy, followed up the punkish poli-sci of 2017’s “Need to Feel Your Love,” won critical acclaim, and continued mad touring.

Sheer Mag’s brand new album, A Distant Call, would seem, at first, to smooth over some of its edges with ’80s-influenced synths, sequencers and 808s with an early grunge feel for rock-out good measure. But, don’t let the synth noodling fool you: Palmer, Halladay, and Co. haven’t lost an ounce of righteous rage or punk spunk.

As on previous recordings, there are the socio-conscious ragers such as “Blood From A Stone” which touches on income inequality and meager existences without sounding like a Bernie Saunders speech, and “Steel Sharpens Steel,” an anthemic howler about fighting the good fight.

But along with “The Right Stuff” hitting hard, and on close-to-home matters of body issues, Halladay touches on some of the most personal pieces of her past, on “Cold Sword,” and the mournful tale of an alcoholic father.

By expanding their rage deeper and deeper into the personal, Sheer Mag has made their taking-names stance more universal without tempering its hard-nosed intentions. Smashing stuff, this is.

Here’s the video for Sheer Mag’s latest release, “Hardly the Blame.”

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