Winter Forever

Written by: TL on 09/01/2012 14:43:55

I don't have the count to support this, but I'm pretty sure that not only did I personally write more reviews in 2011 than in any prior year, but so did overall. And still there are loooooaads of records yet to be dissected before I feel like we can start to close the book on 2011 and turn our full attention to 2012. One of the stragglers is "Winter Forever", the debut LP of reasonably hyped California quartet Seahaven, who have already earned themselves some attention off of last years "Ghost EP". And by reasonable hype, I mean they gathered comparisons to Brand New, which should always get your eyes popping, yet it is no surprise here, because Seahaven have openly admitted to being inspired by the likes of Brand New, Crime In Stereo and Jawbreaker.

As much can also be heard here on "Winter Forever", which walks a tight rope between indie, emo and punk, capturing similar emotions of bitterness and resignation as Brand New and Crime In Stereo have shown at their best, while also flashing elements that could lure in fans from all over the spectrum, from Taking Back Sunday, over Blink 182, to Bayside and maybe even The Pixies. The reason is that this is a no-nonsense punk-rock record at heart, based squarely on the dynamics you can create with your guitar set at times to clean and at times to "menacing distortion", and it is a great credit to this relatively young outfit, that they've managed to cook up 10 consistently catchy numbers, with zero usage of sampled instruments or other production tricks, instead relying solely on a traditional band setup and skillful application of lead and backing vocals.

Speaking of vocals by the way, singer Kyle Chadwick must be awarded some credit as well, should Seahaven manage to inflate their name in times to come, because his highly recognizable, sharp, delivery - which sounds like it has a bit of a latin accent in there? - is exactly the kind of odd-yet-charismatic that will make listeners know that they're listening to Seahaven whenever his voice is heard. Just check out the stripped down and quite catchy "Honey Bee" to get a feel for his unique qualities. Meanwhile, if I was to highlight the best songs, I'd have to go first for "End Of The World", which catches your attention in both verse and chorus, and has some cool melody going on in the pre-chorus which reminds me of.. either or both Emery of Taking Back Sunday.

Moreover, "It's Over" is a good example of how the band manages to jump from "The Devil And God"-esque moody verses, straight into a more upbeat, corrosive noise in the chorus, which makes me think of Bayside or Alkaline Trio. That and the lead/backing vocal interplay in "Save Me" is responsible for my mentioning of Blink 182, sounding like what they and Brand New used to capitalise on years ago. And then "Black And White" actually also deserves a mention, courtesy of its simple, straight forward and angry chorus line, which is arguably one of the best hooks on an album that's rather crowded with good ones.

The point I'm trying to make with this review though, is that Seahaven have managed a debut record that is as solid as granite, and it is a testament to the band's promise that they've written consistently captivating songs, littering them with things that will make you think of scores of influences, while simultaneously giving you the feeling that Seahaven sound entirely like their own band. If I still have some very miniscule reservations about the record, it is that I'm not sure even its best moments are strong enough to make me return to it as often as an above-eight record requires, but that being said, I can also score it no lower, because it seems beyond question that this is one you'll enjoy every single time you do put it on, also for years to come.


Download: End Of The World, It's Over, Honey Bee, Black And White
For The Fans Of: Crime In Stereo, Brand New, The Xcerts, Sainthood Reps

Release Date 08.11.2011
Run For Cover Records

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