Seaway - Hoser
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Record Label: Mutant League
Seaway’s a pop-punk band. With those few words you’ve probably already decided how much you like Seaway. But fear not! This is not gimmicky “Defend!” band, nor will you find any breakdowns within Hoser, nor are all the songs about their friends. Seaway is not a pizza pop-punk band, they’re just some passionate dudes.
One of my favorite aspects about Hoser is the use of dual vocals. Guitarist Patrick Carleton’s smooth vocals do well to highlight lead vocalist Ryan Locke’s during the album. His voice is deeper and a bit gruffer, something probably not expected from a band like this – but it’s nice to hear some variation, as opposed to the same nasally vocals. Songs like “Slowing Down” and “Too Fast for Love” show off both singers with tradeoffs in the verses, while others like “Puddles” – usually the fastest, most punk-sounding songs – feature mostly Locke on vocals. There are times when Carleton can sound a bit whiny, like on the pseudo-ballad “The Weight,” or the aforementioned “Too Fast for Love.” These moments are usually pretty rare though, and a slipup every now and again is expected of any band.
On the subject of slipups, I shall get this out of the way – lyricism isn’t Seaway’s strong point. “Slowing Down” is a highlight on the record, but the repeated refrain of “I always wanted to see you naked” is laughable and nearly ruins the entire song. “I know I’m still a shy guy,” begins the chorus of “Shy Guys,” and it continues: “This one goes out to the shy guys/ who always wanted to dance/ this one goes out to the shy guys/ won’t you give me a chance?” These lyrics may be honest, but the band just seems a bit childish at points.
But really, when the biggest complaint of an album is the lyrics, what’s that say about the songs themselves? While the lyrics at times may falter, the songs are top-quality and full of hooks, the most grandiose of which contained in “Keep Your Stick On the Ice.” The track’s a straight-up anthem. Its Warped Tour-ready intro leads into a towering chorus about cynicism, laughter, and skateboarding. “No Direction” is another great track, one that reminds me of something off Turnover’s latest, maybe. It has the same effortless sound, while not sacrificing infectious guitar riffs or singalong choruses like that album. The highest point of the record comes with the closer though. “Deferral” is the biggest-sounding and best song on Hoser. The song starts unassumingly enough, Carleton’s soft vocals over three solitary strums until it builds into a classic-sounding pop-punk jam.
While Seaway may not be the best lyricists in the genre, really that doesn’t matter. I’m not looking for Whitman. I’m looking for fun, catchy songs, and Seaway delivers on that promise. Hoser breaks no ground, but it’s certainly entertaining. And you can bet I’ll be picking up their next release. 7/10