Seaway – Big Vibe
Released: October 16, 2020
Ryan Locke | vocals
Andrew Eichinger | guitar
Adam Shoji | bass
Ken Taylor | drums
Canadian pop punk act Seaway have delivered some of the most underrated albums in the genre over the last decade. From their Pure Noise debut back in 2015, Colour Blind to their equally as huge 2017 release, Vacation, the Toronto four-piece are killing it at pushing out consistent, upbeat and infectious pop punk anthems. Their long awaited announcement for their fourth full-length release back in August was very much welcomed by the music world. It’s been a long time coming, but Seaway are ready to shake things up, and this time round it’s a Big Vibe.
The record kicks off with ‘Brain in a Jar’ introducing that hefty drumbeat over the pre-chorus and I’m feeling nostalgic for youthful sitcoms like That 70s Show right about now. The backing vocals provide quite a chilled, laidback atmosphere and together with vocalist Ryan Locke, it’s like travelling back in time to good times. The lead single, and title track, ‘Big Vibe’ continues those breezy backing vocals, alongside loud, crunchy drum beats and incredibly catchy lyrics: “Wide-eyed, radiating / I’m tongue tied, can’t seem to handle your / Big vibe.” This song perfectly sums up the entirety of this record, and fits right in with Seaway’s collection of bangers. Big vibes, need I say more?
With two solid album releases under their belt, Seaway seem to have nailed the catchiness of pop punk. With Big Vibe, they set out to diversify their music by somewhat shifting genres. While the upbeat rockiness is ever so evident throughout, the four-piece have dived deeper into a universal mellowed-out, rock sound. Think of a mildly more pop Violent Soho. ‘Mrs David’ sees them play around with moodier riffs and a 90s sonic sound that sounds really soothing to listen to. That emo riff is perked up a little with next track, ‘Still Blue’ and the band hits back with their infectious groove. ‘Still Blue’ has an incredibly danceable pop beat to it that’s reminiscent of the latest All Time Low album. By the end of it, you’ll be singing along nonstop: “Wouldn’t it be nice to stay sedated / when all our friends are getting old and jaded?” Huge.
‘Wild Things’ was the slower single of the three releases, and it introduced us to the band’s evolving sound. Honing in on that grungey rock sound, intertwined with their feel-good lyrics, Seaway somehow make an uplifting pop song gain an indie rock edge. ‘Pathetic’ quickens the pace with its rapid punk energy, and puts a spin on feelings of self-loathing and low self-esteem. This’ll hit you in all the right places, especially if you’re feeling like shit today.
Seaway’s new mellowed out attitude continues with ‘Sweet Sugar’, but this is on a whole new level. Soaring into a loud rock/pop chorus, these Canadians are channelling musical tendencies from their peers, All Time Low. That extended guitar intro riff says it all, and continues well into the following track. ‘Peach’ is one big summer vibe with that crunchy guitar riff meeting up with a poppier hook in the middle. Any pop punk fan who’s yet to hear Seaway will be won over by this sound in a heartbeat.
‘If You Let Me’ sees the band combine emo riffs with a catchy pop melody, tying it all together to create the perfect lovesick anthem. Those “Ooh-ooh-ooh’s” fit right in with the nostalgic notion of the record, while ‘Wicked’ hits us back with those Soho tendencies. Honestly though, this is as far from pop punk as they can get. Featuring distorted guitar riffs that feels almost psychedelic, this track could sit perfectly next to a Dune Rats song. This is Seaway on a new level, and I’m actually digging it. Rounding out the album with ‘Sick Puppy’, the band does their utmost best to keep their new musical identity together. It’s riffy, catchy and good times from here on out.
It’s inevitably clear to see that Seaway are just really fucking good at creating a catchy melody. The three year break in between releases was absolutely worth it, as Big Vibe sees the band doing what they do best and at the same time, challenging themselves with new styles. While the loud pop punk choruses are abundant right throughout, Seaway have taken this time to explore mellow, grungier rock which has now given them a new edge in music. Big Vibe is a refreshed sound for the band, and I’m so about it. These guys are so underrated, who I feel don’t receive as much recognition as their peers, but they so deserve it! The Seaboiz are back, and here to stay.
Seaway – Big Vibe tracklisting:
1. Brain In a Jar
2. Big Vibe
3. Mrs. David
4. Still Blue
5. Wild Things
7. Sweet Sugar
9. If You Let Me
11. Sick Puppy