Seaway

Colour Blind

Written by: TL on 24/11/2015 15:19:14

When the Ontario group Seaway debuted on Pure Noise with the "All In My Head" EP last year, they were a pop-punk band in a sea of pop-punk bands, who had a charming sound and a good single, but not that much else to complete the impression that they would be ones to elevate themselves above the competition. Back now, however, with the new album "Colour Blind", the Canadians have arguably made exactly the album they needed to prove themselves, which turns out to be a record to remind everyone about what was good about pop-punk "back in the day", before your 'Wonder Years or your 'Story So Fars - back when Blink-182 and New Found Glory were young and thoroughly bringing the genre into the limelight.

There's a similar sense of nostalgia in listening to Seaway then, as you get from Man Overboard, partly because Seaway utilize the back and forth vocal trade-offs equally well, which of course also compares easily to Blink's Mark and Tom. The differences are that vocalists Ryan Locke and Patrick Carleton have slightly raspier voices, and that while the lyricism on here is absolutely boyish and naive, it is so in a way that's more endearing than off-putting, as opposed to Man Overboard's at time nauseating self-pity. There's not quite as much blaming the girl for your being miserable, more just romanticizing the relationship troubles of the kind of nerdy, anxious, manchildren that many pop-punk fans probably self-identity with to some extent.

The album starts out on a nicely emo note, with some gentle chords opening "Slam" before the bouncy tempo is introduced and the refrain is sung: "Everything is cool, man!". But it isn't, not really, but "You wouldn't get it! Noooo! You wouldn't get it! Nooo!". With that, you're right there with your bro, he's trying to cheer you up, but you're not ready to talk about it. You probably only have yourself to blame, though, as is revealed in album highlight "Best Mistake": "Wait! You could be my / best mistake that I've / just been dying to make!". It's not exactly high-minded poetry, but there's a nice and mellow dose of self-awareness and down-to-earthness to Seaway's shenanigans that's nice to hear, amidst a genre often ripe with super serious self-justification and incohesive vagaries. It almost reminds of "Take This To Your Grave"-territory when the band sings of situations you can so easily imagine as: "Monday morning, a lot less boring when you trace over my tattoos with your finger!"

The easily pictured lyrical descriptions only help add extra catchiness to the music, although it is already plenty catchy in its own right, with the album striking a nice balance between faster and more mid-tempo tunes, while generally doing well to mix up the rhythms within separate songs as well. Meanwhile the melodies have a distinct tint of emo, again similarly to how Man Overboard and Blink have flirted with it, while the vocal trade-off patterns have a devilish - arguably borderline boyband-like - quality to them.

"I started singing when I understood that I / I was different from the boys and girls, when life / was so simple and we banged our heads, to the music on TV". Are you having the feels yet pop-punk fans? "'Cuz tonight, your hair falls around your ears, and it makes me want to stay". How about now? Songs like "Still Weird" and "Stubborn Love" provide more of the bittersweet awkwardness the genre was built on. "Big Deal" 's chorus of "A big deal, high heels tripping over herself" followed by the sunny mini-solo sounds like the kind of bit anyone from Busted over Trucks to Third Eye Blind could have written, only adding to the overall impression that the hooks keep coming off this album one after the other.

There's not a whole lot to complain about on "Colour Blind" then, except lack of originality, obviously. Stylistically it is still a pop-punk record through and through, but it wins exactly from being the kind of record that shows a more wholesome understanding of the genre's possibilities than what you get from just listening to the bands that are popular right now. There's a bit of judgmental lyricism in the bitter "Trick", and besides echoing the same hook the band used on the previous EP's "Your Best Frend", the track "Growing State" seems a little more honestly angry with someone than the otherwise rather harmless stories. And maybe the album could have felt more refined as a whole if two or three tracks had been cut making it nine or ten instead of twelve tracks. But apart from that, this is pretty much how it's done: Pop-punk made carefully by the book, likeable for boys and girls alike, as well as both teenagers and those pushing thirty or more. Definitely one of the genre's best this year.

8

Download: Best Mistake, Airhead, Stubborn Love, Still Weird, Big Deal
For The Fans Of: Man Overboard, Blink-182, New Found Glory, Misser
Listen: facebook.com/seawayband

Release date 23.10.2015
Pure Noise

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