Circa Waves – Different Creatures

Titanic indie rockers, Circa Waves, have managed to build themselves an equally titanic name over the past two years, fast becoming one of the biggest and hottest bands in the UK today. Following their smash debut Young Chasers, after two long-awaited years, the boys from Liverpool have returned to grace audiences with the pleasure of Different Creatures, an 11-track record which we are sure is going to send them to even greater heights.

Touring with the likes of indie legends Two Door Cinema Club, Circa Waves are no strangers to stadium sized tours and through their bouncy, feel-good style, have played to audiences that few bands could ever dream of. However, as soon as we even begin to look into Different Creatures, we are introduced to a far darker, entirely unexplored dynamic from the band. The album is grittier, bigger and harder hitting than anything we have seen from Circa Waves and could not be more contrasted to the breezy summer vibes of the preceding album. Even exploring the artwork, the satanic looking eyes certainly inflict a far more chilling effect than that of Young Chaser’s pastel blue sky.

Kicking things off are ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Fire That Burns’, both of which could not be more suited to their heightened positioning in the album. ‘Wake Up’ brings the immediately contrasting sound yet still contains the infectious choruses that Circa Waves have managed to perfect so eloquently, whilst ’Fire That Burns’ only further adds to the growing blaze and projects a far more matured sound. It does feel as though the boys have done a lot of growing up whilst writing this record, and are clearly willing to take their sound in an entirely new, refreshing direction. The songwriting and structure behind ‘Fire That Burns’ alone are phenomenal and easily powerful enough for this track to become the band’s newest big hit.

This matured sound will certainly appeal to both new and old fans of the band alike. Aspects of the band’s roots are still ever present through catchy choruses and vocalist Kieran Shudall’s unmistakable unique tones, which both make for an incredibly homely feel to the record. Each track is memorable, incredibly unique and hits hard with just as much punch, if not more, than the last.

Similarly, the pacing throughout Different Creatures is fantastic and whilst the bulk of the tracks do hold upbeat, gritty riffs you can really sink your teeth into tracks like ‘Out On My Own’ which provides a far more stripped back, slower pace that really resonates with the darker tones to the record. The track is a brilliant example of the variation Kieran’s vocals hold and his strained, raw notes are truly a force to reckon with whilst painting some brilliant imagery through each lyric. Contrasting this, ‘Crying Shame’ highlights all of the great aspects in the band’s current biggest hit, ’T-Shirt Weather’, but in a far more gritty, roughened package that feels incredibly invigorating. The track is possibly the highlight of the record, it doesn’t feel like a cheesy rip off, but through killer guitar solos and a cataclysmic chorus, it makes for a listen that is truly infectious and was definitely written to be shared with the masses.

Almost as soon as it starts, you’ll find the album is in its final few numbers. This is by no means a critique and instead, the length feels just right. As you hear the final notes of the highly moving ‘Old Friends’, it’ll simply make you want to re-listen to the album from cover to cover. Absolutely no filler can be found anywhere in the record and, in this case, less has definitely proved to be more. The sense of nostalgia and reminiscing themes found in ‘Old Friends’ makes for a fantastic closer and a truly satisfying end to about 40 minutes of musical brilliance.

In short, Circa Waves have managed to completely knock it out of the park with Different Creatures. Their sound has matured and changed in a way few bands would dare to in the space of just one record, but the end product is remarkably refreshing and just what the indie scene has been lacking these past few years. I would go as far to say the new sound outdoes the first album. Subtle influences from fellow British bands such as Sundara Karma and The Amazons can be spotted in places but there is no doubt that this record is pure Circa Waves through and though. Circa Waves have shown the perfect combination of sound adaptation whilst maintaining the key sparks which made so many fall in love with them. A hastened rise to fame has in no way clouded their songwriting capabilities and it feels as though we are just getting to know who the ‘real’ Circa Waves are. If Different Creatures offers a glimpse into the direction Circa Waves are intending to head, I for one am all for it and cannot wait to see these tracks live!
Ben Walker