REVIEW: Seaway – “Vacation”

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Review by: Zoe Marquedant

Seaway’s forthcoming album Vacation via Pure Noise Records is a high-energy, guitar-heavy, bright, but also mature take on touring, relationships, long drives, changes, and all the succinct pop punk problems that the band has touched upon on their other albums.  It’s a decidedly summery take on the standard pop punk album. Vacation has plenty of pop. It never lets up. It’s solar-powered, seeming to pull all it’s power from the seaside days. Many of the songs conjure images of a beach or lake front, but also the struggles of being on a separate coast from everyone you know, being on the road and far away from home.

Their lead single “Apartment” is a sweet, honest look at life off the road. Much of the album finds the band waffling between the excitement of touring and seeing the world while also missing spending time with friends and loved ones. “Apartment” sets the tone for the record. It paired perfectly with the equally charming “Something Wonderful”, which will no doubt instantly win any listener over with the Friends reference in the chorus.

From there we follow Seaway on a journey through sun soaked memories and cross-country journeys. From California to Winnipeg to Amsterdam and back to their native Canada, listeners are brought in close on what the band has been through over the past half a decade. “Lula On The Beach” finds them at peace, reminiscing and enjoying life. While “London” is more unsettled. Thematically, it parallels Third Eye Blind’s “London” in that it’s torn. The narrator struggles with staying in a relationship, facing the prospect of moving away, and coming to terms with reality. “I can’t go anywhere / I’m too broke.” laments lead singer Ryan Locke. Anyone who’s ever had to stay put and scoop ice cream all summer can relate to that situation.

There similar aggravation on “Curse Me Out” where we see the pull tour has on home life. Lines like, “why the hell am I in Indiana when it comes out?” point directly to the issue. The time spent on the the road and on the phone comes up again in “When I Hang Up.” You can hear how tethered the boys of Seaway are to those calls when Locke sings, “my home is a telephone under the street light most nights.”

It’s an interesting look at a relationship buckling under the stresses faced by almost all musicians. A lot of songs, especially in pop punk, cover break-ups, romantics, relationships, and rough patches, but here Seaway is bluntly honest about how it affects them. “Car Seat Magazine” is more of a generic take, whereas “Neurotic” is Seaway at their best. With an older alt-rock vibe, it’s is one of the album standouts. We see the band chasing their rock star dreams, playing their music no matter how wearing the process can be on their lives. It’s an incredibly catchy tune that stays true to the genre with plenty of nah nah nahs and a powerful “wake me up when I’m famous” chorus. Similar praise can be given to “Scatter My Ashes Along the Coast, or Don’t”, which features Caleb Shomo of Beartooth on vocals. Lyrically, the song was worked on my all the band members and as thus perhaps their most collaborative effort on the album truly shows the strength of the collective Seaway.

Whether you’re looking for something to jam to while enjoying the last gasps of summer or an album to help to remember those summer days as fall begins, be sure Vacation is on your playlist. And given all their talk of touring, it’d be a fitting follow-up to catch the band on one of their upcoming tours with Four Year Strong, Silverstein and With Confidence.

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