Review Summary: All our friends are getting old and jaded
Seaway are such an oddly refreshing band. Not merely because of the incredibly catchy, carefree music they put out, but also because of the strange little corner of the contemporary pop punk scene they occupy. While almost all of their peers seemingly decided to collectively take nosedives quality-wise and drown themselves in uber-serious songwriting while attempting to craft the next big pop hit, Seaway were busy writing breezy, irresistibly fun numbers about, well, cute dogs (‘Lula on the Beach’) or being absolute losers of the nine-to-five kind (‘Goon’). Yet, ironically, whenever the Canadians decided to be a tad more serious, they managed to craft some absolute top-tier emo tracks with ‘40 Over’ and ‘Still Weird’. This new album, wonderfully titled Big Vibe
is no exception: one co-lead vocalist down, the band are still as quirky and goddamn fun
The title track and lead single is a banger of ridiculous proportions. Boasting a ridiculously catchy chorus, it manages to maintain all of Seaway’s unique elements. Cheesy in an irresistible manner, undeniably stupid in the most fun way possible; it’s everything a pleasure should be, guilty or not. Lyrically, ‘Big Vibe’ explores the transmission of, eh, big vibes when someone’s in the room, and how one can impress an unnamed girl by offering her Japanese noodles. More interesting and surprising, however, are the songs where the band manage to wrap more serious thoughts in their trademark sense of humour. ‘Mrs. David’ revolves around anxieties regarding the end of a relationship by means of a hilarious, failed attempt at self-awareness: “So what’s the story? Was it something I said / To make your eyes roll in front of our so-called friends?”. It’s not exactly next level poetry, but it hardly needs to be; this slight step up in lyrical quality while retaining all the memorable qualities from previous records makes for a perfectly balanced song and album.
Yet, Big Vibe
’s biggest draw is its accomplishment of practically every song sounding like it belongs in a 90s high school film. ‘Sweet Sugar’ would play during the opening shot of the building as Julia Stiles walks towards it; ‘Wild Things’ would creep its way in and out of the diegesis as the main characters finally kiss; ‘If You Let Me’ would close the film on a happy note as the couple vows to be together forever. These songs achieve a sense of nostalgia through reminding one of the carefree nature of (watching) these films, as opposed to one’s actual high school experience. It’s rather pleasant, providing the album with a sense of escapism. Simultaneously, the back half proves a tad homogenous as opposed to the previous, more distinguished tracks, exhausting its aesthetics somewhat and making for a relatively front-loaded album. If you’re up for a trip down memory lane by means of an album you’ve never heard before, Big Vibe
is all you need. If you’re not up for that… yeah, stay far, far away from this.
Honestly, it’s kind of ridiculous that an album called Big Vibe
is one of the best pop punk releases of 2020. But here we are, and I’m definitely not complaining. ‘Still Blue’s chorus seems to sum it up perfectly: "So wouldn’t it be nice to stay sedated / While all our friends are getting old and jaded". As irresistibly fun and catchy as every other song, Seaway are managing to stay afloat by combining their inherently ridiculous nature with some cheesy, quality songwriting. Indulge yourself in the breezy guitar tones, highly effective choruses, the band members’ moustaches, and, most importantly, feel the big vibe.