Circa Waves – What's It Like Over There?

Transcending indie into something much larger than themselves, the new album from Circa Waves marks a stylistic change in direction that reaps plentiful rewards

Album Review by Dylan Tuck | 05 Apr 2019
  • Circa Waves – What's It Like Over There?
Album title: What's It Like Over There?
Artist: Circa Waves
Label: PIAS / Prolifica Inc
Release date: 5 Apr

The Liverpudlians of Circa Waves aren’t afraid of growing up. Their first record Young Chasers was a vibrant, sound-of-the-summer exploration of youthful indie-rock; their second, Different Creatures, as the title suggests, displayed change as the band started to show indications that they were coming-of-age. As they reach their third effort, signs of maturity are now fully cemented in musical form.

What’s It Like Over There? sees the group ditch the surging guitars in favour of more subtle, delicate touches. In a very Arctic Monkey’s move, throbbing, angst-fuelled rhythms make way for piano melodies (Times Won’t Change Me, Passport), ambitiously pop-infused moments incorporated with an anthemic quality (Sorry I’m Yours, Be Somebody Good), or melancholic yet upbeat ballads (The Way We Say Goodbye). There’s a lot on offer that’s new to Circa Waves' sound, as frontman Kieran Shudhall confessed prior to the record's release that focus was placed on "blurring the lines" between band roles, and not letting "the restrictions of ‘we’re a rock band’ rule". That’s as accurate a depiction of this record you could wish for. It’s quite simply, a bold move – a knight takes king moment in the group’s career.

Movies is the perfect blend of old and new, and a sure favourite already with fans. It’s a nostalgic, conscious glance over the shoulder to the band’s roots that feels more controlled without sacrificing an ability to produce a really memorable chorus and serves as the pick of a pretty tasty bunch.

Circa Waves made a name for themselves with songs to blare out of open car windows in the midst of a British heatwave. Yet, as they’ve progressed through their career, that quality undoubtedly still remains, but their sound has morphed into something much grander and ambitious than a previous dose of radio rock.

Listen to: Sorry I’m Yours, Movies, The Way We Say Goodbye