TITLE: FRESH PRODUCE
LABEL: PURE NOISE RECORDS
WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
Seaway have been an established pop-punk band since their feel good album of the summer ‘Vacation’ but they are back with a “new album” if you can call it that. The Canadian quintet have released two brand-spanking new tracks but the rest of the record takes the form of a collection of re-worked tracks, covers, and their EP, ‘All In My Head’ slapped on the end for good measure! The band are working on new material and in an age where bands can be forgotten in an instant if they aren’t ruthlessly posting or touring, a compilations album, like the aptly named ‘Fresh Produce’, makes a lot of sense in theory but is half-hearted in it’s execution.
The new tracks, ‘Pleasures’ and ‘Blur’ are B-sides taken from the band’s latest album ‘Vacation’ and do little to depart from the pop-centric-punk the band honed in on. Very much cut from the same cloth, ‘Pleasures’ has a sun soaked feel in it’s composition with sugary-sweet vocals from Ryan Locke as he swoons, “Meet me on an island far from here”. The lead guitar features very bendy melodies while the rhythm keeps the energy up with the bouncy beat. ‘Blur’ begins with the vocal trade off between Locke and Patrick Carleton that has been tweaked and perfected for their style to create harmonies that compliment each other like pop-punk and pizza.
“‘Pleasures’ has a sun soaked feel in it’s composition with sugary-sweet vocals “
On to the re-worked section of the collection of songs, the strongest part of the album and most interesting as they take a different turn and experiment with their previously released music. ‘Something Wonderful’ from ‘Vacation’ is a full acoustic track but includes some effects and little synth fills to provide a different flavour to the otherwise sweet track. ’40 Over’ is almost unrecognisable in it’s complexion, the initial riff and chord progression are familiar, the feel and style of the track takes no a new lease of life. ‘Vacation’ favourite, ‘Lula’, is the most straight forward reworked song, with an acoustic guitar taking the lead then subtle piano, electric guitar and backing vocals that make for a relaxed tune. The next track takes on a very similar feeling but the spliced track of old favourites ‘Slam/Shy Guys’ is executed in a minor tone giving the song a new feeling.
The covers section is up next and does very little in offering anything new for the songs. ‘Just What I Needed’ originally by The Cars, previously recorded and released prior to this album, is a nice throw back but is almost identical apart from the production. Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ is, again, identical to the original apart the guitars but the melody and style is the exact same not to mention it featured first on ‘Punk Goes Pop’. The only new cover that hadn’t been released before was the underwhelming 90’s hit, ’Hand In My Pocket’ by Alanis Morissette, once again just beat for beat the same.
“It’s hard to pinpoint where this album fits into the world of Seaway, is it for hardcore fans who want more? Or to draw new fans?”
The most disappointing thing on this album is the utter laziness that comes in the form of the last part of the record. The decision to put an entire EP that has already been released and doesn’t even feature in the bands live set, and cut and paste it on the end of the album is pure lackadaisical behaviour. Not to say the EP is not good because it is, acting as prelude to ‘Colour Blind’ with classic pop-punk riffs and Locke’s catchy melodies and lyrics, especially on ‘Your Best Friend’.
It’s hard to pinpoint where this album fits into the world of Seaway, is it for hardcore fans who want more? Or is it to draw new fans? The former makes sense for the the reworked and B-side songs but the covers are uninspiring and the EP is old news at this point. But If you are new fan then surely go to the albums and dive deep into the back catalogue. This album is a collection of songs that is interesting up until the midway point then feels unenthusiastic. Ultimately, this record feels like it was haphazardly thrown together to fill an album.