Although it's not quite up to the standards of its immediate predecessor, Swing and a Miss (one of R. Stevie Moore's all-time career high points), 1978's Sheetrock is nonetheless a pivotal recording. This was the last album that Moore recorded in Nashville before moving for good to northern New Jersey later that year. Even more importantly, it's the first of Moore's albums to show a pronounced punk and new wave influence throughout. Moore was clearly as excited by the likes of Talking Heads and the Ramones (who get namechecked on "Compatibility Leaves" and the gloriously snotty falsetto workout "Apropos Joe," respectively) as he had been by the Beatles and the Mothers of Invention ten years previously, and the new interest had a stunning effect on his songwriting: Sprinkled in among the Todd Rundgren-influenced power ballad "Do You Feel About the Same?," the hysterical, cacophonous freakout "What Is the Matter With Me?," and the proggy synthesizer instrumental "The Swings' Eulogy" (a farewell to the Holiday Inn covers band Moore had just left) are sparkling slices of punk-influenced power pop like "How Many Moore," the sweetly deranged piano solo "The Holocaust Parade," and "Oh Pat," as well as the bouncy, Wings-like "Alcohol Call" and "Irony," which showcases Moore's burgeoning knack for bittersweet love songs delivered in a dreamy voice over layers of jangling guitars. The best of the batch, however, are "Compatibility Leaves," one of Moore's catchiest tunes, with a naggingly familiar guitar hook and a smart, crisp, handclap-fueled arrangement, and the nakedly emotional acoustic reverie "I'm Scared," one of Moore's most direct and simplest songs. Although not an absolutely top-drawer release, Sheetrock has its share of R. Stevie Moore classics.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason