Seahaven was one of my biggest surprises from 2010, releasing a great EP entitled Ghost that was everything I needed to hear the moment I listened to it. From the great, Brand New-esque opener “Plague” to the near-poppy sounding “Head in the Sand (Blinding Son),” the EP was one of the most well-rounded collections of the year. When it was announced the band had signed to Run For Cover Records and would be releasing their full length, entitled Winter Forever, I was pretty giddy. The album progresses from what was laid out with Ghost and is a solid listen that is sure to sway some new fans.
The most notable fixation with Seahaven’s sound is the unique inflection that vocalist Kyle Soto has in his voice. He has an almost Jason Lancaster-styled vibe to his voice, though, in my opinion, Soto’s is better than the Go Radio vocalist. On opener “Goodnight,” you get a good sense of the sound that Seahaven exemplifies: indie-rock with slightly punk influences. With lyrics like “And I’ve been waiting for the sun to come and dry up all the rain, but I’m caught up in the storm,” the band manages to craft some extremely relatable lyrics.
Songs like the more reserved “It’s Over,” which bears resemblance to “Head in the Sand” from the EP, and the jarring “Thank You,” which features one of the better choruses on the record, are sure to be favorites among fans who will see the band on their upcoming tour with Touché Amoré and Pianos Become the Teeth. And with “Understanding,” which comes near the album’s end, the band has a hit that may find itself in the Song of the Year category of many End of the Year lists.
This isn’t to say that Winter Forever isn’t without flaws. While “Black & White” and “Save Me” stand alone as solid tracks, the way they segue together seamlessly and don’t feature much stylistic change makes the middle of the album blend together. If the songs were listened to on shuffle mode, they would be great, but in the context of the album, they tend to flow together a little too nicely. Also, the pop-rock radio chorus of “End of the World” makes for one of the album’s poorer moments. The most polarizing song on the collection is “Honey Bee,” which would be great on an acoustic collection, but is a jarring standstill in a collection of otherwise more energetic songs. If anything, this song would have benefited as an album-ender, rather than a penultimate track.
While Winter Forever does have its share of stumbles, it is an admirable debut full-length for a band that is full of promise. And considering this is their second release in two years, the band has plenty of time to work out the kinks.