SWMRS // 'BERKELEY'S ON FIRE' - ALBUM REVIEW
SWMRS release their fourth studio album ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ ahead of their UK Headline Tour which starts next month.
Berkeley’s on Fire is the second studio album from Oakland born SWMRS. It’s finally here, after what feels like a lifetime waiting after the bands last release Drive North the eagerly anticipated second album has arrived. This record is perfect for long journeys and keeps you reaching for the repeat button from listen to listen. In my opinion this is some of the bands best work and really shows their growth as musicians.
Opening track is coincidentally the album name, Berkeley’s On Fire is the perfect opener to the ten track listing. The track was the first single to be released within this ‘era’ of SWMRS, it provided a perfect taste into what was to come from the fourpiece. The track has the perfect balance of sheer catchiness and guitar driven nature SWMRS are known for. The track is a perfect introduction to the change in sound the band appear to of undertaken.
Too Much Coffee is very easy to listen too and provides the perfect warm up, I personally think the song fits well hand in hand with Trashbag Baby. The intro begins with some loud guitars which strikes up the perfect vibe as the lyrics chime in. This track feels like classic SWMRS to me.
Trashbag Baby is the most recent single release and provides catchy lyrics along with the guitar riffs which are said to be inspired by the British fans love to sing ‘things that aren’t necessarily lyrics’, the tune is very easy to listen too and is guaranteed to be stuck in your head after the first listen.
Lose Lose Lose is a catchy track which appears to be made for live audiences, the vocals of frontman Cole Becker ring in your ears long after the track ends making it truly undeniably a hit for a spot on a setlist. The instruments go hand in hand with the lyrics on this track to make for a song that’ll be stuck in your head for days on end. This track is the perfect example of how SWMRS are truly making a statement within the industry right now.
April in Houston is the second release from the album and shows frontman Cole Becker voicing a significantly slower tempo compared to the rest of the album. This track signifies significantly softer vibes whilst maintaining a significantly quicker tempo.
Lonely Ghosts has the perfect beat to go alongside the lyrics, the consistent guitars make the tune perfect for long car journeys. The catchy lyrics easily make their way into your subconscious from the first listen which to me is a good sign for a solid track. The instruments accompanying the vocal for me make this song a real contender for the best track on the album, it’s the perfect mix of upbeat and mellow.
IKEA Date shows a more mellow vibe sang by co-frontman Max Becker, the soft lyrics are accompanied by a softer guitar which makes for a real easy listening track. The lyrics for this song are undeniably catchy and are guaranteed to be stuck in your head from the first listen. The song as a whole is very soft and offers an interesting contrast to the edgier tracks on the record.
Hellboy is easily a contender for dominance over previous Drive North single Harry Dean. The track displays heavy attitude and is a true indication of the bands spiky exterior. Drummer Joey Armstrong provides some truly iconic drumming to accompany the lyrics within this track, it easily is a contender for the best track on the album in my opinion. I believe this track will be a massive hit when performed live.
Bad Allergies shows yet another side to the truly diverse album in the sense of allowing Max Becker to take lead vocal once more and perform more softly in follow up to harder, more energetic track Hellboy. The track strikes me as a perfect contender for long car journey’s, the soft melody accompanied by the lyrics make for an easy listen.
Steve Got Robbed is the perfect example of SWMRS pushing the boundaries right now. They are truly moving mountains within the Alternative genre. There’s an undeniable amount of experimentation within the track.
Standout track for me is a toss up between Hellboy and Lonely Ghosts, both tracks display a new side to SWMRS I personally don’t think we’ve seen before. The tracks promote the band in their best light and truly invites all the praise for the creation that is Berkeley’s on Fire. Hellboy is the perfect example of how powerful the band are within the scene right now, they’re truly taking over!
I began this review by praising the album to be their best work to date and I stand by the statement, the record from start to finish contains catchy, feel good, powerful music full to bursting with the standout vibes they pride themselves so highly on.
SWMRS are performing across the UK next month, be sure to catch them at a show near you!