As its title suggests, Seaway’s newest record is in fact, a big vibe. Oakville, ON’s own is back with their fourth record and third with Pure Noise Records. The now four-piece (following the departure of guitarist/vocalist Patrick Carleton at the end of 2019) continues to push the pop-rock agenda they brought to fruition on 2017’s Vacation.
Starting with the release of 2015’s Colour Blind, and continuing with this release, the band has been following this trend of releasing perfect-for-the-summer records just as fall kicks. Maybe it’s coincidental or maybe the current pandemic forced them to push back the release, but Big Vibe is the ideal record for driving with the windows down on your way to a lovely day on the beach. Whatever makes you think of the warmer months, this record will be your ideal soundtrack.
By far their best and most cohesive work yet, the album kicks off with an absolute bang. “Brain In A Jar” and lead single, “Big Vibe” will have you dancing like a freak in no time. Track three, “Mrs. David,” is the shining star of this record. With chorus-soaked guitars and the infectious melodies from vocalist Ryan Locke, it should be no surprise the love even the band have for this tune.
“We were pretty much done in the studio,” says guitarist Andrew Eichinger, “and then COVID-19 hit, so we kept writing and did a couple more songs, one of which was ‘Mrs. David.’ And it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever written. We just did it and it felt perfect. And without that song, I think the record would be completely different. It brings the whole thing together.”
From there, the band carries on the feel-good summery vibes while sprinkling in a few nuances to the sound they’re diving into (“Still Blue,” “Wild Things”). “Sweet Sugar” and “If You Let Me” are other highlights of the record, with the first having an anthemic pre-chorus and cheeky lyrics (The line, “It’s typical” needs to be put on a shirt ASAP) made to be blared with the windows down. The latter is a nice balance between their older sound and the direction they continue to head, with verses reminiscent of Colour Blind, but a chorus that not only sounds somewhat like a Latin-esque dance number but also a pop melody that should be old by now but comes off as refreshing in this setting.
While it’s nice to see a pop-punk act not pull the same tropes we expect of them, there are a few moments that don’t hit quite like the others. “Pathetic” and “Wicked” are the tracks that seem to fall through the cracks. They simply don’t accomplish anything that the other songs already have; but, if you’re a diehard fan, you’ll have no problem getting into these tunes. With that being said, the ending of “Wicked” deserves a tip of the hat. It just sounds huge and the screeching lead guitars are a lovely touch.
The album closes with “Sick Puppy,” the sad song of the record and quite possibly the saddest of their whole discography. It ties everything together well, despite not being as fun-loving as most of the release. (Hey, it’s a nice change of pace so, can’t complain.)
Many of the bands that came up in the pop-punk boom of the early 2010s have, in some way, drifted away from the sound that brought them recognition, but Seaway is making a case for being one of the most drastic of the lot. But change is great, and these changes continue to be for the better. “That was the only pressure we felt on this record,” explains Locke. “Just for us to make something special while also opening up our sound. We’re trying to break that mold, and I think the record really reflects that. I just hope that we keep moving forward as artists, keep growing and are able to take it to the next level.”
Big Vibe Track Listing:
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
Run Time: 36:05
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Record Label: Pure Noise Records