Bouncy, chirpy guitars, frequent tempo changes and “everything is cool, man” being sung loudly in an American drawl. Yep, Seaway’s new album is definitely pop punk, as opener Slam not so covertly hints. Having been backbenchers of the genre for a while now, sophomore full-length Colour Blind seems set to propel them well and truly into the spotlight.
Yes, it’s said a lot, but the quintet have noticeably developed their sound in the time since debut Hoser’s release. Sure, the basics are all there, but there seems to be something a little unique making them sound different to everything else out there. Their lyrics stick to the set-out ‘love, loss, friends, fun’ themes, and although they’re a bit simple, there are some great, loveably immature one liners like “so maybe I’m a freak but you freak me out” on here. And while singer Ryan Locke is through and through a pop punk vocalist, there’s something a little edgier and refreshing about his voice you can’t quite put your finger on.
And then there’s the songs themselves. It’s clear that the more classic, pioneering side of pop punk is the driving influence here, as most of the songs are more vivacious than anything else. Freak especially has a very blink-182 inspired riff, and the catchy and colourful pop punk perfection of standout Trick (So Sweet) is almost impossible to dislike. Even Goon, which acts as the cliché end-of-record ballad seems beefed up, and isn’t as dry as the initial intro suggests it may be.
But the problem is that the special, unique aspects to Seaway’s sound are too often wrapped up in a generic, by-the-numbers package. The more topical lyrics of Growing Stale (“keep your silver spoon to yourself instead of shoving it down my throat”) are lost underneath predictable riffs. And the music doesn’t help more questionable lyric choices go unnoticed. In fact, it does the complete opposite, like in the case of Still Weird, in which Locke sings about how he was an outcast for going to rock shows when he was younger. It all takes a turn for the cringeworthy, especially as there’s nowhere to hide for the stark lyrics about such a first world problem.
That being said, there is a lot more to credit on Colour Blind than criticise. There are so many songs on here that are simply irresistible, such as aural definition of a summer jam Big Deal, or gang vocal heavy earworm Best Mistake. There’s nothing really new here in terms of the music, but Seaway have more than displayed their own little quirks that set them apart from the rest of their overcrowded genre. And it definitely seems to be working for them.
For fans of: New Found Glory, Man Overboard, Neck Deep
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Colour Blind’ by Seaway is out now on Pure Noise Records.