What a surprise Sheer Agony are, their self-titled 7-inch mimicking a cup of wine turning to blood as you drink it, then back to wine again. The backbone of their sound is a more outgoing brand of Clash-style punk, or at least post-punk, but their perfectly planned shifts and lurches hit the ear more like early Scritti Politti or Joggers (extra points for eliciting my old Portland faves), and their instrumentation is far more twangy than anything John Q. Strummer usually fucks with. I like this a fuckin’ lot, if you must know. These sudden breaks into spindly arpeggios and glittery yet eerie riffs belie the fairly innocent nature of the melodious vocals. Different than just about every modern-era band you’re listening to, I’d be willing to wager, even if it IS only the warbling sense of drunkenness setting it apart. I always find it fascinating when kids with new ideas jump amps-first into punk waters, and I love where Sheer Agony go with it. A nice surprise in a genre undernourished of hype.