With their sophomore LP, ‘Colour Blind’, Seaway established themselves as pop-punk’s feel-good party boys. As they return for a third outing with ‘Vacation’, the Canadian group pick up where they left off while subtly showing hints of growth.
Nevertheless, opener ‘Apartment’ leads the way with a strong sense of familiarity; duel sincere vocals giving way to a boisterous chorus. Although ‘Vacation’ is very much rooted in pop-punk, there are traces of expansion as they embrace more pop-rock elements. For example, ‘London’ is backed by a drum machine with simple lyrics of a loved one moving overseas. It’s a basic concept yet is an effective early highlight. Likewise, the sun-drenched ‘Lula on the Beach’ embraces duel harmonies, “ooh ooh ooh” group vocals and a playful riff. While the mid-tempo ‘Day Player’ could easily be mistaken as a Lit song and is one of the several nods to 90s rock on offer.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking Seaway have changed. Unashamedly, ‘Something Wonderful’ is the shining beacon on ‘Vacation’ and probably one of the best pop-punk songs you’ll hear this year. Even with its cheesy lyrics (“just like Ross and Rachel”), it’s Seaway at their best; straight up fun and addictive. On top of that, ‘Curse Me Out’ highlights their sonic growth while retaining their pop-punk tendencies.
It can’t be argued that the 12 songs on here are delivered with plenty of urgency, yet past the halfway point, Seaway’s style becomes slightly tiresome. Recycled ideas and a safe use of anthemic choruses start to hinder ‘Vacation’. Even an admirable cameo from Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo on ‘Scatter My Ashes Along the Coast or Don’t’ isn’t enough to make the track memorable.
While their scene companions continue to evolve and move away from pop-punk, Seaway has once again delivered a pure set of pop-punk songs that retain their enjoyment and reliability. For a post-summer soundtrack, ‘Vacation’ serves its purpose.
‘Vacation’ by Seaway is out now on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)