"Vacation" as sunny as it sounds! Seaway REVIEW
Since releasing their sophomore album ‘Colour Blind’ back in 2015, Canadian quintet Seaway have been on something of a worldwide rollercoaster ride, touring with the likes of Simple Plan, Neck Deep and Four Year Strong, and along the way cementing themselves as one of the next generation of young pop punk stars helping to usher in the new era of refreshing, revitalised radio rock. This new release, therefore, was set to be a progression to the next evolution of Seaway, as they continue to explore their sound and venture down new creative avenues. Drawing on the influence of bands such as Weezer and Third Eye Blind, with small nods to the golden age of pop rock that was the 90s, -and no doubt their experiences on the road outside of the cold of Canadian winters- the band have created a sunshine filled riot of an album, titled ‘Vacation’, which is packed full of catchy hooks, galloping guitar lines and lyrics spun directly from their collective experiences of touring and relationships, and finding that balance between living your dreams and still staying connected to reality. This new era of Seaway in heralded by opening track ‘Apartment’, whose opening riff tingles with anticipation, before the bass and drums kick in, building up into the soaring, pop rock chorus, with a rounded, full sound and a light ebb and flow to the melody. The slight bite of the bassline stops it taking flight into the heady heights of the pop stratosphere, and helps set the precedent for an uplifting, dancefloor-ready pop punk album that practically bubbles with energy. Following the opener is ‘Neurotic’, a track that is walking the line between neon bright, 90s influenced alt pop and glistening, bold summer radio rock, a blend that mirrors the duality in the emotions that inspired the lyrics, as the band explain that ‘It’s about the two sides of touring. When you’re gone, you wish you’re home. When you’re home, you wish you were on tour’. Add in a healthy dose of classic pop punk inspired ‘na na na’s’ leading into the bridge, this track is nigh on impossible to not chant along to! A recurring theme throughout this record is that there can be no doubt that these guys know how to write an infectiously bouncy chorus! ‘London’ boasts a powerful, sweeping hook that pulls you into the anthemic chorus that comes crashing in as a colourful wave of bouncing guitar lines and pounding drums that you can’t help but want to jump around to! Incessant claps and relentless bounce on the melody on ‘Something Wonderful’ lead into a fist pumping chorus peppered with pop culture references- and it is impossible to escape the party vibes of ‘Car Seat Magazine’ that are sure to get even the most cynical hard rock purists in the mood for a dance! The sunshine ready vibes promised by the record’s title, ‘Vacation’, come bursting out of every note of ‘Lula on the Beach’, with its groovy, grunting bassline and wonderfully simple yet catchy lyrics borne from memories of sunsets and late night beach parties, making it the perfect soundtrack to a long summer road trip! At the other end of the spectrum, we find ‘Scatter my Ashes Along the Coast Or Don’t’, which was written as a collaborative effort between the entire band and features guest vocals from Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo. This track bucks the trend with its guttural, grinding stomp, where the pummelling percussion and pounding guitars take centre stage- a pleasant, slightly heavier pebble thrown into the mix, creating a new ripple in the otherwise glossy pop rock millpond. There are a few slightly stagnant moments with this record- the mid-tempo ‘Day Player’ would benefit from a stronger hook to cut through the light, airy melody, and final track ‘When I Hang Up’ had the potential to be a roaring closer, but falls slightly short of the mark when it comes to energy and drive. However, a lull in pace is not always a terrible thing- on the contrary, the heartfelt, poignantly romantic lyrics on tracks like ’40 Over’ and the unexpectedly heart-wrenching ‘Misery in You’ give a glimpse of the heart of this band that shines through the shining bubble of swooping choruses and lively riffs, refracting through it like rays of light, and turning these tracks, particularly the latter, into the shining stars in the crown of this bold, bright explosion of an album.