Within a few seconds of the Field Music-like perambulations of album opener "Anthony Ivy" starting up and I was hooked. Who was this band and why hadn't I heard about them until recently.
Sheer Agony is a four-piece from Montreal. They named their newest album Masterpiece and, rather, than seem like a ballsy move that, it sort of is one.
If "Careers" continues in the vein of the album's first cut, then "I Have a Dream" ambles in the direction of some of Adrian Belew's solo stuff, or even Steely Dan. Sheer Agony have the chops and yet never once does Masterpiece descend into muso noodling. There's a hint of Robyn Hitchcock on the playful "So Many Zoes", while "I Used To Be Darker" even sounds a very tiny bit like modern-era XTC. "Fizzical Lime", another highlight of this record, recalled Split Enz to my ears.
If you detect a pattern here it's that, yeah, Sheer Agony sound like a lot of artists I've loved for a long time. Masterpiece may not be a masterpiece but it's damn close. Sheer Agony quickly and almost instantly won me over and I urge you to get on board with them now.