Best of 2016 Playlist

October 30, 2015

Speed Reads - Seaway, 5 Seconds of Summer, and SayWeCanFly

Speed Reads is back with another set of quick reviews! We've got pop punk albums from Seaway and 5 Seconds of Summer (don't try to deny it, they are a pop punk band), plus the latest EP from SayWeCanFly. If you have a suggestion for a future Speed Read entry, please let us know. To read our previous "Speed Read" post, click this (link). And to buy each respective album please click the links below! 

Seaway - "Colour Blind" (7.5 to 8/10) 

Summary - While not a game changing album, it is a nostalgic trip back to the career highs of Sum 41, New Found Glory and Simple Plan.

If you're in need of some last minute sing-alongs for the camp fire, or want one last glimpse of the summer, look no further than "Colour Blind". A fun time, and an easy listen, we recommend this album for those of you looking for something that's pure unadulterated ear weed. Pop punk has always been a bit numbing and cheesy, and Seaway have embraced those cliches with open arms. The album doesn't break ground, it plants a flag and says "Fuck it, we're doing pop punk the way it's been done since the beginning!" Power chords, lyrics that recall past heartbreaks, and gang vocals of "Whoa!". The vocal duo of frontman Ryan Locke and guitarist Patrick Carleton is as strong as ever. Their voices play off each other perfectly (take a hint As It Is, this is how dual vocalists should sound). 

All in all, this isn't a stellar album, it's a good time album. Energetic drum beats from Ken Taylor fuel the song's angst and dynamics. The album leans more toward the "pop" of pop punk, which may turn some fans off. But considering how "pop" other pop punk bands have become in recent years (i.e. All Time Low and Mayday Parade), Seaway's slight musical shift isn't that bad.

Favorite Tracks - "Best Mistake", "Freak", and "Stubborn Love"

5 Seconds of Summer - "Sounds Good Feels Good" (6.5/10) 

Summary - Mainstream pop punk that will appeal to 5SOS, As It Is, and All Time Low fans, but infuriate those true pop punk fans from the late 90s and early to mid 00s. 

A band who has yet to earn any real respect in the music industry, seeing as they're fame is built on teen girls, and their looks. The band's sophomore album takes the somewhat cut and paste pop punk from their debut and adds some new touches here and there. The lead single features frontman Luke Hemmings complaining about how his girlfriend is a complete bitch, but she's also really hot. The other songs aren't much different, each angst ridden love tales or typical retrospective pop punk tales about one's misguided past. We have to give the boys and their writers some credit though. It'd be a lie to say this album isn't infectious and catchy.

In the end we reach the same conclusion we had with their debut, the band are trying way too hard to be something they aren't. Trying to be taken seriously by having Michael do his best Billie Joe Armstrong impression, and bringing in Alex Gaskarth to co-write one of his worst songs, "Catch Fire", the band don't score any points in our book. And working with John Feldman, and the Madden Brothers hasn't done them any good. If they want to be a band deserving of our attention, they need to lose some of the production, and label interference. They reek of corporate meddling. Because they have the potential to be another Maroon 5 or Fall Out Boy, if they could just show some backbone and say, "Fuck what label/producer wants, we're not your music monkeys"

Favorite Tracks - Album closer "Outer Space/Carry On" and "Vapor"

SayWeCanFly - "Darling EP" (6.5/10) 

Summary - Acoustic vibes can only take you so far before things start getting stale.

Warped Tour's very own SayWeCanFly, aka Ontario native Braden Barrie, released his debut album back in January 2015. And now he's back with a new EP. Is it worth a listen? That depends on how you feel about 00s emo acoustic songs that really don't do anything for this one man act. Barrie proves his writing skills with lyrics like "And all our politics, are just a dirty trick to keep us feeling sick and keep us arguing" from "High School". Then goes for emo-pop cliche with the rest of the album. It's nothing spectacular, nor terrible. Just average. Barrie brings no new material to the table, just the same stuff he's been writing since his beginnings back when he was a hit on MySpace. Ya that long ago. 

Favorite Tracks - "High School"