Noisome, harrowing shoe-gaze is in no short supply of late, so it’s a tricky proposition to stand out from the overstuffed genre. But, as with any style of music, there’s a simple solution to that problem: write viscerally effective songs. Easier said than done, of course, but on Uneasy, from LA four piece Sheer, Gina Almaguer and company erect massive edifices of feedback that they cut through with melody, as on “Monochrome” the LP’s opening track. Elsewhere, on songs like “Ojai”, the evoke the lush, and Lush, sounds of 90s alt-rock, with guitar leads knifing through the fuzz and countering the more pop-focused melodies of the vocals.
There’s a depth of subject matter, and stylistic divergences here, from Americana, to College Rock and shoegaze, (90s-gaze hipster bingo!) so we asked the band to walk us through the record track by track. Hit play and read along below. Uneasy is out November 20.
“Monochrome” was the first song we ever wrote together. It originally started as a basic open chord jam that we all threw our own twists on. Before we knew it, the song soon became a mixture of all of our personal influences and styles. This essentially paved the way of how we could create something as one whole “being” if you will. The production of this song was one of the most difficult ones as we wanted to present the song in a way that was reflective of the emotion we all put into writing it. – Gina
This song was written in hopes of capturing the array of emotion I felt after visiting Ojai, California with someone very special to me. Having only previously visited once at a young age, it truly was surreal to realize that a place so beautiful and scenic was so close to home. Discovering the beauty and life with someone I love and hold so close to my heart was an experience I wish I could relive forever. The visit was both eye-opening and humbling and left me feeling inspired to discover more. – Gina
“Bored To Death”
“Bored To Death” started out as just a rhythm guitar track that was recorded straight into Pro Tools and was never actually played before recording. I presented it to the band and we quickly added different influences and styles which gave the song more texture. Lyrics followed soon after and are about feeling so lost in your depression that nothing you do, buy, make or say can subside the pain. You’re left feeling hopeless and taking life day by day until death can take it all away. – Jules
When writing “Mask,” we wanted to experiment combining dissonant and minor chords with southern, twangy tones and leads. Paired with lyrics reflective of an American-Western inspired theme written from the perspective of a Native American character. I wanted this song to leave the listener with a vivid image of a traditional western movie scene. – Anthony
“Cursed Again” is essentially about Christian Bale’s character in one of my favorite movies, The Machinist. The movie has a very raw feeling to it overall and I wanted to reproduce that emotion through lyrics while remaining as simple and straight forward as possible. – Anthony
“Orion” was initially written when I messing around with spacey, open chords one night while I was half asleep. The chords started to get stuck in my head and I decided to show the band. Once we all collaborated on it, we were able to add a lot more dimension that drew out more of the spacier themes which was what I was going for. – Sean
“Skin” is about losing my mom to cancer when I was sixteen, more specifically about my final moments with her. My family and I had just moved into a new home when we received word that she only had a few months left to live. My first memories there was losing her in a place she hardly lived in. She was the person not only closest to me, but to the rest of the family. At the time, I felt more pressure to retain my emotions and remain strong in support of my family. It was not until I wrote this song when I felt I could be truly open about my last memories of her. – Gina
Despite being jokingly named after the popular Steve Brule skit, “Yesterday’s Weather” is about constantly being blamed for things you are not at fault for or being putdown for things that are beyond your control. Although it can often seem like an endless battle, most of the time when you are hurting or feel hurt by someone it is because they are hurting just the same. Sometimes, the only way someone knows how to cope with pain is by inflicting it onto others. – Gina
“Waste Away” is about those moments when you feel you’ve reached your limit and instantly want to shut the world out. The overwhelming feeling of stress and pressure can sometimes make you feel like ending it all and disappearing into nothingness. – Gina
The sudden abrasiveness and shimmering guitars in the intro paired with the soft, floating tones in the verse reminded me of someone fading into the vastness of space. I couldn’t help but to relate this feeling to what I often picture my mom experienced when she passed away. The lyrics to this song actually came about pretty organically. After weeks of perfecting the tone and production on the instrumentals, I decided to go into the recording booth with the intention of singing anything that came naturally to me. In the end, I don’t think we would have wanted anything else. – Gina
Uneasy is about being around someone (even one you feel the most comfortable around) or being in public and feeling out of place and shameful. You become paranoid and self-conscious about your looks, your body language and general existence and end up being in your own head rather than in the moment. Overall, the song is about a battle with social anxiety that at times seems impossible to overcome. – Gina