VacationPure Noise Records (US) / Dine Alone Records (CAN)
By Cole Faulkner
Canadian pop-punk act Seaway is already on their third full length, and while many of these youthful Hopeless and Fearless Records type pop-punk bands tend to fade away after a couple of albums and tours, the Ontario quintet continues to build momentum. Their previous album, Colour Blind, marked a worthwhile step forward from Hoser, their rather paint-by-number debut. Their twelve-song follow up, Vacation, continues this trend with enough tact and energy to solidify Seaway as having earned their keep and credibility as one of the better candidates to bear the pop-rock standard these days.
On the surface Vacation feels youthful and upfront – an album about taking a break from the daily grind and hitting the road. But a closer listen reveals that the reference to a “vacation” serves more as a loose theme more like a synonym for leaving or running away. In fact, most tracks seldom see any sunny beaches or spring break destinations. Rather, they are written from the perspective of the ones left behind. For instance, album opener “Apartment” is about taking a vacation from life in your living room, while “Neurotic” playfully toys with the idea of being “on the run.” In “London” the band sings about a young woman hopping town with a year’s rent en route to England, and how they “could never move to London” because they’re “too broke.” So while people travel throughout the record, the band stays grounded much of the time (although they do get some sun on “Lula On The Beach”).
Musically, the band continues to sound youthful and energetic without feeling juvenile. With plenty of “na na na” embedded choruses and witty wordplay (i.e. “Scatter My Ashes On The Beach”), Seaway holds their own while conjuring thoughts of Story Of The Year, Yellowcard and New Found Glory. The band isn’t nearly as cheesy as they were five years back, and the hooks are strategically catchy rather than bathed in excess.
Seaway offers a solid third entry into their growing discography. Vacation is a well envisioned and executed dose of pop-punk with a little more below the surface. While Seaway may have launched their career with surface level hooks, they continue to push forward and differentiate themselves from the pack. If you’re looking for a quality soundtrack to your next staycation, then Seaway’s Vacation is a worthy choice.