Seaway's B-side compilation album is sure to get you ready to wind down your vacation.
Ontario pop-punk quintet Seaway are back with their third full length album. Fresh Produce was years in the making, consisting of the band’s 2014 EP All In My Head, reimagined versions of some of their hits from their third LP, Vacation, and covers they’ve released over the years.
Seaway brings a whole new light to their 2017’s Vacation, using more electronic elements, different instrumentation, and a slower vibe all while preserving the classic Seaway sound of Ryan Locke’s vocals. The album reimagines three tracks from Vacation, ‘Lula On The Beach,’ ‘40 Over,’ and ‘Something Wonderful.’ ‘Lula On The Beach’ is a song that is slow to start in the first place, but slows down even more on Fresh Produce’s alternate version, making you feel as if you’re at the end of your vacation. Following the theme of winding down on a vacation away, the alternate version ‘40 Over’ is the song you’d end your last night with. ‘Something Wonderful’ is a similarly acoustic version of the original track with bells and synthesizers. The song is slower than the upbeat original, but in a perfect way. ‘Something Wonderful’ is the most notable of the Vacation songs on Fresh Produce, as it’s the band’s most popular track in a new style.
Seaway didn’t forget about their first and second EPs completely on this album. Fresh Produce contains one song that’s a mashup of the tracks ‘Slam’ from their second album Colour Blind and ‘Shy Guys’ from 2013 album Hoser. The track is slower than the original version of ‘Shy Guys’, which was fast and more classic pop-punk, less hype than ‘Slam’ that coined the iconic phrase for the band “Everything is cool man.” The mashup features both Locke and Patrick Carleton (guitar and vocals) peacefully singing. This is a song you need to listen to with headphones on to give it the full justice and sound it deserves. It features acoustics and lots of synths, as that seems to be the album’s central theme: going outside typical pop-punk musical elements.
The next three tracks on Fresh Produce are covers, ‘Just What I Needed’ by The Cars, ‘Hand In My Pocket’ by Alanis Morrisette, and ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers and Halsey. All three of these tracks have been previously released by the band between 2016 and 2018, easily bridging the gap between pop and pop-punk.
Following the covers are four previously-released songs from the band’s debut solo EP, All In My Head. The songs are just remastered versions of the original tracks; ‘Your Best Friend,’ ‘Alberta,’ ‘The Let Down,’ and ‘If I Came Back For You’ are being given a new lease of life and are now more accessible to fans.
Saving the best songs for last, ‘Pleasures’ and ‘Blur’ are actually the first two songs on the album and the two brand new tracks on Fresh Produce. ‘Pleasures’ immediately sounds like a track from Vacation, romanticizing a relationship that should’ve ended long ago. The song is hazy, like you would listen to it laying on the beach and waiting for your life to change. Bringing in synths again, though in a less outright electronic style, gives fans the comfort of a pop-punk sound even as it branches out. ‘Blur’ is completely different from any of the songs on Fresh Produce, describing waking up in the morning with regrets and giving a typical pop-punk style with fast guitars and getting you hyped about a hangover.
Fresh Produce is different than Seaway’s other releases, so if you’re looking for straight pop-punk or something like their 2015 album Colour Blind, you’re not going to find it here. The new tracks will be loved by any Seaway fan, but the band branches out into new territory, showing their growth as artists and listeners.
4 out of 5 stars