With music that might also be called pop punk or drunk punk, Texarkana band Merrows bring a high-energy, fun punk sound to Texarkana.
Anyone who's seen Merrows live shows since they formed in 2015 knows they're pretty much an anarchic, gleefully wild experience that nevertheless showcases the Merrows solid musicianship and dedication to a sound influenced by bands like Social Distortion or Descendents.
Now that sound is captured on a Merrows album, their debut effort titled "Dry Heaves on the High Seas," which just came out at the beginning of the month on the label Ratchet City United.
Fronted by longtime friends Joey Mills and Jason Sharp, Merrows are sure to play album songs Saturday night at their Arrow Bar show (9 p.m.) with fellow local rockers Old Flames and singer-songwriter Joe Kennedy.
Right in the midst of this release, Merrows are in the midst of change, too, with the recent departure of the band's bassist and drummer. That includes co-founder Brandon Rushing. The band will be helped Saturday night and going forward by Victor Perez on bass and Jonathan Allred on drums, two fixtures on the local music scene.
"We got really lucky, picked up two guys already in the scene they're kind of filling out for us for now until we get everything situated," Sharp said, adding, "We're just going to keep pushing on with the same music."
Sharp and Mills have been in several bands together. "Me and Joey started in 75 Cents in like our teenage years," Sharp recalled of their roots. That was a punk band out of Hooks, Texas. Other bands followed. After Mills returned from living in the Dallas area, that's when Merrows formed.
Sharp almost didn't join in when the band formed, but then he went out to play with Mills, Rushing and the original drummer one day and, seeing the possibilities, went out and bought new gear the next day.
"It just felt like almost picking up where we had left off years prior. It felt like we just picked right back up," Sharp said. Life changes how the music comes out, and so they had different subject matter to the songs, he said. But it felt similar. "Still punk rock, still have a blast doing it."
They're a band that likes to party and have fun. They can get their drink on, which is reflected in the lyrics. "But when we're on stage we try to keep it where we can still put on a good show," Sharp said.
The album's song titles tips their hand when it comes to party-life lyrical preoccupations: "Lowlife Lullaby," "52 Can Pick-Up," "Burnout," "Best Twenty Bucks" and "One for the Road."
As the lead vocalist, Mills bounces around and rages with passionate on-stage charisma and, to put it mildly, plenty of punk enthusiasm.
"He definitely connects with the crowd. He can connect with anybody. It doesn't matter what kind of music they're into," Sharp said. It's brought a good response, that positive energy.
"It's what we love to do," Sharp said, adding that even some of the songs that have a darker energy still have an upbeat party vibe. Mills writes the majority of lyrics for the band. Musically, they sit down every couple of months and just mess around on their guitars to get new songs started.
"Kind of set them aside and let them form," Sharp said. They love practicing and writing music, but the live show is what they live for after getting through the "in between" of jobs and whatnot, he says, and it shows when they're on stage. The album captures that fun punk energy.
The album title is one Mills has kicked around for years, Sharp said. "It pretty much kind of tells the story somewhat of what we are," he says, referencing their album cover, which features a mermaid, kiddie pool, hose and trailer.
"Dry Heaves on the High Seas" is available on CD at Merrows shows, as well as digital download and online streaming at Websites like Spotify, iTunes and Amazon. For Merrows, expect to see CDs, shirts, stickers and other merchandise at Saturday night's show.
(On the Net: TheMerrows.net.)