10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

SWMRS’ CV includes a 20-minute soundtrack to a Saint Laurent runway show in Paris and a goal celebration theme for two-time MLS title winners the San Jose Earthquakes; it’s clear the Oakland punk-pop band (featuring drummer Joey Armstrong, son of Billie Joe) appeals to a wide constituency—fashionistas and soccer supporters included. For their second album, Berkeley’s On Fire, the quartet opens the floodgates of sound. Tracks like “Trashbag Baby,” “Too Much Coffee,” and “Lose Lose Lose” ring with cool ’80s post-punk and new wave. “April in Houston” and “Hellboy” show glimmers of their raucous punk-pop past. And while the band members are still in their early twenties, they address tough topics like gentrification and media distortion. The title track references the 2017 Berkeley protests following a gathering of white nationalists: “Too many motherf**kers confusing this freedom of speech with swastikas, like Milo Yiannopoulos.”

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

SWMRS’ CV includes a 20-minute soundtrack to a Saint Laurent runway show in Paris and a goal celebration theme for two-time MLS title winners the San Jose Earthquakes; it’s clear the Oakland punk-pop band (featuring drummer Joey Armstrong, son of Billie Joe) appeals to a wide constituency—fashionistas and soccer supporters included. For their second album, Berkeley’s On Fire, the quartet opens the floodgates of sound. Tracks like “Trashbag Baby,” “Too Much Coffee,” and “Lose Lose Lose” ring with cool ’80s post-punk and new wave. “April in Houston” and “Hellboy” show glimmers of their raucous punk-pop past. And while the band members are still in their early twenties, they address tough topics like gentrification and media distortion. The title track references the 2017 Berkeley protests following a gathering of white nationalists: “Too many motherf**kers confusing this freedom of speech with swastikas, like Milo Yiannopoulos.”

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
38 Ratings
38 Ratings
C_laff ,

eh

this sounds like ratboy but not as good. admittedly, there are a few good songs, but most of them sound the same and don’t have the same swmrs energy i remember. i respect whatever this band does because they’re one of my favorites and i’ve been following them since the beginning, but honestly i’m disappointed. i really wish they stuck to their punk rock roots for this, but of course people change and their styles change.
if you’re new to the bad definitely listen to drive north of if you really want to know what they’re about.

Iheartfrosty ,

What sophomore slump?

The boys in SWMRS are back and better than ever. The sound is tighter and more cohesive. On “Bad Allergies” Max reminds me of the lovechild of John Lennon and Billy Corgan. “Steve Got Robbed” has a Sublime vibe to it that I really dig. Also on songs like “Hellboy” and the title track, Cole’s contempt is sharp and pointed. SWMRS has something to say and they won’t be ignored. Love it.

caleblivesay ,

A welcomed surprise

As someone looking for some new music, I came across SWMRS new album sitting behind my desk at work browsing Apple Music. What I found was one of the most engaging albums I’ve heard in a long time. I probably listened to this album at least 10 times at work and many more since then. A strong 1st half of the album unfortunately slows and is bogged down by some passable songs like “IKEA Date” and “Steve Got Robbed” but overall, the band’s ability to blend in and out of pop-punk and post-punk soundscapes is something that was refreshing and their lyrical content was potent and urgent in a way that I was not expecting. I’m fully excited to dig into their previous album and look forward to more releases from this band.

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