Circa Waves – Different Creatures Review 

For me, the jovial indie pop of Circa Waves’ breakout track T-Shirt Weather defined summer 2015: a track fusing frivolous lyricism with cheery guitar hooks, overflowing with sunny vibes. Similar light rock characterised their freshman album Young Chasers, which is why it came as a shock to me that their sophomore offering has taken a distinctly heavier direction. Circa Waves have swapped their youthful and nostalgic indie pop for a grittier, more mature take on the rock genre, making the album’s title, Different Creatures, not only a considered political statement, but also a signpost of Circa Waves’ regeneration.

The first song I heard to come from Different Creatures was Fire That Burns. Though the shuffling percussion holds glimpses of their older tunes, the opening thrash of guitar indicates Different Creatures’ more brutish stance. Contrasting restrained verses, the pre-chorus builds to an explosive chorus, which features the anthemic carriage of lyrics much more developed than those of some predecessors. In the same grungy vein are album opener Wake Up – which begins with a similar opening riff to Young Chaser’s first track Get Away, just in a more pitchy key – Crying Shame, A Night On The Broken Tiles and Goodbye. Other tunes affiliate with the rockier style of these tracks but in a much softer way. Old Friends recaptures the nostalgic edge Young Chasers was spiked with in its reminiscent sweeps of guitar and relaxed percussion. Love’s Run Out is a short pause between equally loud Crying Shame and Stuck, with Kieran Shudall’s quiet vocals driven by a gentle acoustic.

Love’s Run Out is both the most tender song instrumentally and lyrically. It deliberates desire for love and the promises of never leaving, a completely conflicting slant to the exploration of the “dark side of passion” – as Shudall calls it – on Fire That Burns. It’s a genuinely gorgeous number. Circa Waves’ unfamiliar maturity is mostly present, however, in the title track Different Creatures. This song broadcasts the newly-discovered political side to the band, discussing their thoughts on the limitation of the number of refugees allowed into the country. Amongst many-a Trump protest track and other political rants, it’s interesting and hugely satisfying to hear a song about a different issue, especially coming from such a band labelled with such a genre. It’s also great to hear a young and relevant band discussing the effects of media on Stuck. So, to all the critics that say modern music is an endless cycle of meaningless, love-obsessed pop songs, here’s the proof you’re wrong.

Different Creatures is a fantastic album – not necessarily for a totally distinctive sound, because, though it deviates from what we’re used to from this band, it’s not completely different from other rock outfits out there – but for the transition they’ve made to become a noteworthy rival for other indie bands. The sheer jump from 2015 to 2017 for Circa Waves is brilliant in itself, and is extremely promising for the future.

Circa Waves – Different Creatures: 7/10

Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – Circa Waves – Stuck

Liverpool Indie quartet are to release their second album Different Creatures on March 10th and this week they’ve released a new single in ‘Stuck’. Their debut Young Chasers emerged with an average to mildly positive response and so you wonder where the difficult second album will fall. Based on this track, there is no new destination in the grand scheme of things as they churn out a sound worn thread bare over the last sixteen (yes, sixteen) years. What is frustrating about the growing heap of stagnant Indie groups is that not one of them sound better than or anywhere near as good as The Strokes, Kings of Leon, The Killers etc. They’re clearly talented enough and have a decent live sound, but it is difficult to see them and their many other clones as nothing more than glorified tribute act to a sound that had peaked in 2004. 

Owen Riddle