Seaway – ‘Big Vibe’

By Louis Kerry

Sweet, loaded with choice and incredibly moreish, Seaway are the definition of pick n mix pop punk. One of the most laid back bands return with their third album ‘Big Vibe’ and it is filled with exactly that and more. Not only is it full of their trademark chilled out melodies, perfect for a summertime singalong with a side of ice cream, but the Canadian four-piece have also taken the bold attempt to branch out into new territories from alt rock to eighties pop and even some darker lyrical turns, which either sounds like the perfect natural progression for the band or a miscalculated risk.

Seaway waste no time in making a statement of intent on the direction they’re heading as opener ‘Brain In a Jar’ offers an alt rock twist. Featuring breezy guitar riffs and a hyperactive chorus, the band transport you back to a time when the likes of Weezer and Pixies were king.

The band haven’t just rehashed the past with more complexities, ‘Mrs David’ offers a burst of new influences and experimentation. Using synths without being overbearing, some vocal lines that are more pop than punk and a huge drop that takes a page out of You Me At Six’s book, the track is a curveball that suits them down to a tee. The eighties era chorus alongside the singer Ryan Locke’s chilled out vocal style makes for the perfect outdoors singalong in the beer garden.

Elsewhere, ‘If You Let Me’ is the most forward thinking song on the album, complete with unique drum fills, an outstanding guitar solo from Andrew Eichinger and unique storytelling that would make anyone feel invincible. Combining cohesive musicianship with indie rock gang vocals, ‘Wicked’ also captures Seaway’s musical ambitions while being their most aggressive style performance yet.

The band’s bubblegum sticky sweet style of sound is still served in huge scoops. ‘Pathetic’ is a pure pop punk track, crafted with the nuance and creativity that would tell Machine Gun Kelly where to go. ‘Sick Puppy’ is also the most lyrically melancholic song of their career, forming heavy clouds around their sunshine selves. The track offers a surprising amount of emotion for a band that are usually pretty laid back, leading into a beefed up crescendo and ending the album with one of their biggest heavyweight hits.

On the flip side, ‘Peach’ is a fun song but Locke pushes his narrow vocal range as far as it goes, without leaving a lasting impression. Unless you’re looking for a soundtrack to an awkward teenage couple romcom, ‘Wild Things’ goes too far beyond, draining the life of all the good vibes out of ‘Big Vibe’ half way through. This out of touch One Direction B-side strips away Seaway’s huge personality, settling for mediocre instead.

Big Vibe is not going to offend or smash the state in any way, but if you’re looking for escapism and songs to add some sunshine on a rainy day, there is no better band than Seaway. Without conforming to their typical well-trodden style, the new alt-rock layers that the band experiment with add a jaunty and dark edge to the album – marking a thrilling and fresh chapter for the band.


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