Sheer Mag
Playing Favorites

(Third Man)


“It does exactly what it says on the tin.” It’s a phrase that’s often disguised as a compliment, but there are underlying negative connotations at play, a suggestion of limitations and external barriers that can’t be broken, no matter how hard the subject tries.

While this is often the case, throughout time there have been a fair few instances of musicians creating greatness within self-imposed barriers. We’ve had the Ramones drilling home that perfect punk sound and Bo Diddley tearing it up with that riff of his, proving that when it’s done right, doing the obvious thing can be incredibly exciting.

Sheer Mag have taken note from history’s great repeaters. For the best part of the last decade the group have been honing their distinct rock and roll sound. Their third studio album, Playing Favorites, offers up more of the same, 11 tracks of fuzzed-up bar room riffs and scuzzy punk vocals in perfectly formed pop packages.

While this lack of sonic exploration would be a cause for concern in most other instances, there’s just something incredibly addictive about the group’s determination to stick to their guns. Rather than coming across as lazy or tired, Sheer Mag’s longstanding search for the perfect guitar pop song is thrilling, making the whole record, and the band’s discography to date, feel like some sort of journey into the depths of riffdom.

Playing Favorites does exactly what it says on the tin, and you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.