Toronto-based band Seaway are back and better than ever. Putting their sunny pop punk roots on hold and trading it in for nostalgia-filled hard-hitters, their upcoming album is full of surprises. Big Vibe is due for release on October 16, 2020 via Pure Noise Records, and I hope you brought your dancing shoes along for the ride.
Big Vibe hits the ground running with “Brain In a Jar.” With a high-energy bass line, insanely catchy chorus and the almost-retro sounding guitar riffs that Seaway has already displayed in their new singles, this song was meant to be an opening track. As soon as the pre-released single and title track dropped, I knew I was going to be all over this new album. It’s just an overall fun track, complete with some great lyrics that I can’t wait to dance along to in a crowd. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I listened to this for about 48 hours straight when it was released and that it might be my song of the year.
“Mrs. David” starts off with another solid guitar riff that’s sure to get stuck in your head. Something about this track sounds like it would be right at home in a John Hughes movie, and that in itself makes it stand out from the pack. Guitarist Andrew Eichinger said that he thinks this is the track that really brings Big Vibe together, and I think he might be on to something. “Still Blue” is yet another song I can’t wait to scream at the top of my lungs in a crowd. I’m sounding like a broken record already, but the guitar riffs in this track are unreal. The lyrics seem to perfectly sum up this year as a whole “A year is lost but I’m still blue,” hits right where it hurts.
Even before I heard the rest of the album, “Wild Things” is definitely the track that stood apart from the others. It veers away from the funky sound and killer guitar riffs and adapts a much more modern sound that fits Seaway phenomenally. “Pathetic” picks back up where “Still Blue” left off. The upbeat guitar riffs are back, and the juxtaposition of the loud verses and the softer chorus keeps listeners guessing with lyrics that are extremely catchy. It is, hands down, my favorite track from the album. “Sweet Sugar” seems to be the exact middle ground between high-energy tracks like “Mrs. David” and the more reserved, mature sounds of tracks like “Wild Things.” It maintains the catchy riffs and choruses that have been so common on this album so far, and you’ll probably be humming it for the next week or so.
Seaway brings a more rock-forward sound with “Peach.” The whistle-turned-synth in the background made me smile when I picked up on it and I found myself dancing along on my first listen-through. Complete with a pretty sick guitar solo and earnest lyrics, this is the track to go for if you’re curious what Seaway is up to. “If You Let Me” stood out to me right away. The lyrics, heartfelt and sincere, almost sound as if this track was supposed to be an acoustic ballad that turned to a full-band arrangement in a split-second decision. Normally I don’t think that would have been a good decision, but in Seaway’s case, I love how it ended up coming together. For real though- Seaway, if you’re reading this, please release an acoustic version of this gorgeous song.
The vocals and overall beat of “Wicked” are practically begging to be danced to around your room. Vocalist Ryan Locke really lets it fly in the chorus, effortlessly matching the upbeat mood that the music is putting forward. The track wraps up with an instrumental outro, something that we’ve never heard from Seaway, that I really hope they start to do more often. “Sick Puppy” threw me for a loop. I really didn’t expect Seaway to close such a high-energy album with a slower track, and for the first 25 seconds, I thought they were going to – I was proved wrong very quickly. This track’s presence on Big Vibe shows listeners just how much this band has grown in their lifetime, transforming from the happy-go-lucky songs on their earlier releases to the serious, almost desperate lyrics in this song.
Big Vibe is the cure to all of those quarantine blues, something to help remedy those almost-winter bad vibes. This album shows how much Seaway has grown as a band. It’s not saying goodbye to the pop punk anthems of their first three releases, but rather, saying “Look at what we can do now.” Whether you’ve been a fan of the band since 2011 or their latest single release, you’re going to find something to love on this album.