SWMRS: Berkeley’s On Fire

review swmrs x1 cong

SWMRS are from the US but they really should be English; equally this CD is ostensibly punk but in reality it’s a gang of lads having fun and playing songs that are the modern equivalent of Knees Up Mother Brown.

Opener Berkeley’s On Fire has a guitar riff and some wonky singing — as well as some swears — but the chorus is essentially a family on East Enders round a piano singing “Berkeley’s On Fire!”. This means that while there’s enough punkery to make it loud and interesting, it’s also instantly likable. Speed it up a bit and it’d be Plastique Bertrand.

Too Much Coffee is next and it’s poppier, a more stripped down and tougher sound than the shambolic opener, somewhere between Blink 182 and the Beach Boys. Impossible not to like.

Trashbag Baby is more of the same, a tight slick riff on guitar over metronomic drums, and opener words “first off, I hate you” — a bit like Blink, the lyrics are pleasingly juvenile.

Lose Lose Lose is a little swampier, with a fuller sound, and a bit Offspring. Hellboy is good but counts on people never having heard anything by Hives, though that fat guitar sound is welcome in our ears any time.

All in all: shallow but fun, and they’ve got a good ear for a melody. They also know how to tap into the mass market.

We’ve also managed to write the review without mentioning that drummer Joey Armstrong is the son of Billie Joe Green Day. Oh bugger….

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