Having switched its handle from Emily's Army to SWMRS, this Oakland, California-based band has changed up its sound as well. The tried-and-true Northern California punk revival attack that dominated the band's work as Emily's Army has given way to a cooler sound, more indebted to indie rock and electronics. Drive North was produced by Zac Carper of the band FIDLAR, and he's helped SWMRS rework their approach. Here SWMRS are playing with their rhythms, filtering the vocals, and moving the central focus away from the electric guitars. The foundation of this music is still punk rock. But the arrangements and the production upend the expectations of that generic framework. The music represents a brave move forward. A lot of great punk rock has been based on the notion of purposefully messed-up sounds. SWMRS have taken up this tradition and with Carper's help they've moved it into the post-Pro Tools era, using electronic processing as a way of revising their sound and themselves. Much of this album's buzzy tone and choppy surfaces feels honestly exciting and fun. And with Drive North, SWMRS have made a bold, clear break from their past.
|Label:||Fueled By Ramen|