Album: Berkley’s On Fire
Genre: Punk Rock/Pop Punk
Recommended Tracks: Track 5- April in Houston and Track 10- Steve Got Robbed
In true Bay Area fashion, the band Swmrs has released a brand new punk rock album called fittingly titles “Berkley’s On Fire”. The Oakland based band may not be one of the biggest names out there, but you definitely know one of the dad’s of the drummer from a little band called Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong’s son is one of the original band members of Swmrs, so clearly punk rock runs in his blood. Berkley’s on fire is the band’s fourth full length album following their most recent album Driving North from 2016. The album features 10 songs and runs at around 33 minutes long. The album is a distinct style that I happen to like a lot so I would rate it a 4 out of 5, but will warn people it isn’t everyone’s style.
April in Houston is a fan favorite off the album. The song is references a real experience of the band. The song starts with the line “My train just caught on fire and I’m stuck here at the station” referring to a show of theirs in Houston when they saw smoke in the distance and felt the explosion from a distance away while prepping for the show. The song starts with a guitar solo and other instruments come in as the song progresses. The song is about distractions and getting caught up with life suddenly realizing how fast time is flying. They use the fire as a metaphor throughout the song saying things like “your brain just caught on fire”. The song is basically talking about their fear of growing up and how quickly time flies. The chorus talks about how people will always be there when you’re at your high, but where does everyone go when you need them most.
Steve Got Robbed is definitely one of the most punk rock sounding songs on the album. The song is about “Steve” who gets robbed twice in one night. They explain how we’ve all been robbed of something but how Steve has truly had it the worst. The song goes in detail of how and where Steve was robbed. The chorus goes “Steve got robbed, it was a San Fran shit-show. Steve got robbed walking home from West Oakland Bart station with a pistol” using their signature bay area references. The song is upbeat and an overall fun ending to the pop punk album.
SWMRS are growing constantly in their genre, but still aren’t widely known. Similar artists worth checking out if you enjoy them would be bands like Remo Drive, The Regrettes, or The Frights. Punk rock still has its following despite not being everyone’s go to anymore and I would definitely recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of pop punk, punk rock, or early 2000s alternative rock. This album may not be for everyone but it is well made with a fun sound that takes me back to early 2000s pop punk.