If you're looking for bleak lyrics vainly trying to capture human emotion, then Sheriff is not for you. Sheriff is one of those albums that you put in your car on a sunny day for the ride to the beach. The album is light pop and the lyrics never aspire to be more than just plain old fun. The appeal of Sheriff is simple, upbeat, catchy pop melodies. Add the remarkable voice of Fred Curci and you have a winning formula. Curci is one of those rare vocalists who can make you sing along with every track. The pulsating "California" is representative of the band's high-energy approach. Set to a throbbing beat, songwriter and guitarist Arnold Lanni sketches out flashy guitar riffs, while Curci's elastic voice soars through the arrangement. Other tracks that deserve mention are the spirited "Makin' My Way," and "Crazy Without You," which could have been hits. The super-charged "Give Me Rock'n Roll," with it's bombastic finish, is also noteworthy. On the groups one hit, the ballad "When I'm With You," Curci is center stage as his voice gently takes flight at the end of the track. In fact, the note he holds at the end is recognized as the longest in a number one song. Like many good records, Sheriff failed to catch on when it was originally released. Fans of upbeat, '80s pop rock shouldn't miss this album. However, you might want to get your hands on the original vinyl release for several reasons. One is that the band recorded two versions of "When I'm With You." While they are not dramatically different, Curci's vocal ascension up the scale at the end of the track is smoother and more relaxed on the LP than on the CD version. The second reason to grab the LP is that the CD version leaves out Curci's wailing solo at the end of "Give Me Rock'n Roll." Given that the CD is barely 40 minutes long, it is almost inconceivable why the solo was left off. Today, Sheriff remains one of pop music's most enduring novelties. The fact that "When I'm With You" topped the charts seven years after it's release is evidence that the band had something quite special. Grade A.
AllMusic Review by Jeri Montesano