SWMRS - 'Berkeley's On Fire'

8/10

After releasing their stunning debut album 'Drive North' back in 2016, the world was at the feet of SWMRS. Seen very much as a legacy band, having been formed by Joey Armstrong (son of Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong), the group's first full-length was a straight-up pop-punk release filled with a untold number of catchy and rememberable anthems. Now returning with their second studio release, the band have widened their scope of influence, adopting more post-punk and grunge inspirations, to deliver 'Berkeley's On Fire', a full-on riot of a record.

While the attitude of the group remains very much focused on the same party atmosphere of their debut, it is clear from the off that the band are looking to spread their creative wings and share a collection that is more than just another simple punk record. Whether its the 80s alt-rock styles of 'Too Much Coffee' or the thunderous indie-pop energy of the lead single 'Trashbag Baby', this new release shows the band adopting a far more diverse approach, especially when it comes to the production. With plenty of emphasis on the sound of this release, 'Berkeley's On Fire' matches the same raucous style that bands like FIDLAR have been moving towards of late.

It may not have that same instant grab factor of their debut, but 'Berkeley's On Fire' definitely feels like one to grow on. The group's bravery when it comes to experimentation can certainly be commended, and it has resulted in a strong and confidence second studio album, filled with gusto and raw power.

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