Review: SWMRS – Berkeley’s On Fire

Oakland-quartet SWMRS are back with their sophomore album ‘Berkeley’s on Fire’, three years after the release of their debut ‘Drive North’.

The album starts with the album-titled single which instantly brings back the heavy punk riffs we are used to from their debut. The 2017 Berkeley riots might be a risky topic to write a song about, but we are used to the band referencing controversial topics in their songs and they in no way shy away from this.

“Too many, too many motherfuckers confusing this freedom speech with swastikas”

Berkeley’s on Fire – SWMRS

Songs like ‘Too Much Coffee’, ‘Trashbag Baby’ and ‘April in Houston’ have much more of a pop-punk style, bringing a little bit of a release from the hard-hitting punk style that is familiar territory for SWMRS.

In between these lighter pop-punk songs you have the harder hitting ‘Lose Lose Lose’, ‘Lonely Ghosts’ and ‘Hellboy’ which are full of punk-rock riffs and vocals we are used to from the likes of Green Day (it is not a surprise to know that SWMRS drummer Joey Armstrong is the son of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong). The Green Day connection can be seen through a lot of their songwriting, however, they do mix up the production throughout their album and even try out an EDM style during ‘Ikea Date’.

Mixing up hard-hitting punk bangers with some pop-punk tunes, a rock ballad and a little EDM makes for an album that at no point disappoints. SWMRS have delivered an album showing off a lot more maturity than their debut and it seems that the band has spent much longer perfecting every song before release. SWMRS are a band who had a strong debut but have only got better with their second release.

SWMRS are coming to the UK in March

  • 11th March – O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
  • 12th March – St Luke’s, Glasgow
  • 13th March – Manchester Academy 2, Manchester
  • 14th March – The Fleece, Bristol
  • 16th March – Electric Ballroom, London

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