The recently released “Drive North” is SWMRS‘ first album since their name change, having come out in February on Uncool Records. The album’s title track is, despite its violence, an anthem to the city where angels go for pleasure, another song for Los Angeles. “I hate Santa Monica Boulevard,” announces lead vocalist Max Becker after introducing the strip malls and bleaching desires that line Californian avenues like washed out soldiers in line of duty. As the chorus advances, supported by backing vocals from the other members, drummer Joey Armstrong keeps up with Becker’s grinding electric buzz, throwing in variations seamlessly. The final quarter of the song explodes, spewing honey- flavored hate in the direction of the Hollywood Hills. The speed, the volume, the hyperbolically amplified pop punk nature of the song make for one impressive serenade, once again putting the paradise city in that spotlight it can’t get enough of. “Drive North” is a song for Angelenos to swear by and newcomers to play as they snake down the freeways, inching along, smack in the heart of the promised land.
The album is the band’s first with a new producer, vocalist Zac Carper of the band Fidlar. Formed a little over ten years ago, the Oakland group is gaining steam and simultaneously reviving a certain spirit through their songwriting and instrumental innovation. Punk died because it received a nice crisp label to stick on the jacket, but who’s to say it’s not resuscitating itself in the minds and bodies of kids like SWMRS, festering until it escapes in little bursts of genius like “Drive North.” The band is currently playing a series of shows in Southern California, so stay tuned for information about future shows in your area.