ALBUM REVIEW: Circa Waves – Sad Happy

Release Date: March 13th 2020
Label: Prolifica


Liverpudlian indie-rock outfit Circa Waves serve charred optimism in their latest full-length offering, ‘Sad Happy’.

A welcomed light in a period of what seems like impenetrable darkness, the fifteen-track effort is a voguish feat on the band’s behalf, dishing out attitude, track after track.

‘Jacqueline’ opens candidly, teetering into existence with a tasteful build of instrumental elements. The track’s overall pace is smooth and easily digestible, like aged wine or a longed-for summer, leaving us limbered up and flushed with freedom before the ensuing album imposes.

‘Be Your Drug’ is similar, donning salt-wrung guitars (Kieran Shudall, Joe Falconer) and an equally vibe-y drive. You can almost feel the spring becoming tetchy, though, coiling up until the band can’t breathe, jesting for the enormous velocity of Circa Waves to funnel into the crooks of the release.

Beckoning veins of indie, rock, and punk, ‘Call Your Name’ shunts into action on the latter portion of the effort’s first half, and Colin Jones strings together drum patterns with a vibrance reminiscent of a musical playground, springing atop the track’s energy hand in hand with an adrenalised audience.

In the form of the LP’s second coming, the title-track is tropical, swinging beneath the cordially effortless vocal deliveries of frontman, Kieran Shudall. An air of ease riddles this track and those that follow alike, with gems like ‘Hope There’s A Heaven’ pulsing in their spontaneous nature and relishing in their underlying complexities.

Shudall explores the stylism behind ‘Sad Happy’ as representing “two sides of this tech-saturated, highly insecure age”, as meshed between the unrelenting highs of ‘Move To San Francisco’ and the bruised melancholy of ‘Train To Lime Street’.

Despite the buoyancy and feverish energy of the dual release, Circa Waves refuse to shy away from the bitter underbelly that fuels their chuckle-infused efforts. There’s an admirable amount of layers to this band, a few being the sophistication and joy they are able to apply to their craft, seamlessly.