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Circa Waves


One of the many bands that so far only appeal to a British audience. Liverpool’s freshest indie-pop combo CIRCA WAVES couldn’t quite crossover into the lucrative US or EU markets, despite resounding Top 10 successes – well as near as – for their first three sets. Evolving from a city that once produced a you-know-who’s who of pop icons. However, the band’s initial sound derived from lighter, jangle-pop times when PALE FOUNTAINS, WILD SWANS, SHACK and others were forever waiting in the wings for that “next big thing” badge of honour. The truth is, their New Wave Of BritPop sound was defiantly modern and most like The CORAL, BLOSSOMS or The STROKES. They’d like us to think that it was close to DRAKE and/or LCD SOUNDSYSTEM.
Formed in May 2013, CIRCA WAVES came about through a chance meeting at Liverpool’s Sound City festival, when singer/guitarist Kieran Shudall bumped into best buddies Sam Rourke (bass) and Sian Plummer (drums); former stage manager and lead guitarist Joe Falconer was duly drafted in during the oncoming summer months. Almost immediately the lads struck up a deal with Transgressive Records, who were quicker still in dispatching their 7-inch debut demo (`Get Away’) by the year’s end. The passionate platter was the first of several coloured-vinyl discs issued over the course of the next few years; Virgin-EMI Records indeed happy to take over the mantle from sophomore single `Stuck In My Teeth’ onwards. `Young Chasers’, `So Long’ (flipped with a cover of PHOENIX’s `1901’) and `Fossils’ (twinned with a re-vamp of The RONETTES’ `Be My Baby’), preceded CIRCA WAVES’ inaugural set; also entitled YOUNG CHASERS (2015) {*7}.
Back in the day, the quirky `T-Shirt Weather’ anthem might well’ve worked out for The BOO RADLEYS or even DODGY, however, it today’s world it took more than several radio spins to push out a hit song pitted against chart rap, hip hop and pop. As the year progressed, Plummer’s place was filled by Colin Jones, whilst their exclusive `Something Like You’ (a cover of a MICHAEL HEAD song: he of PALE FOUNTAINS fame) halted the run of 7-inch singles as of Record Store Day, April 2016.
2017’s Alan Moulder-producer DIFFERENT CREATURES {*7} stopped one place short of the Top 10, but Studall and Co’s sound was certainly maturing and defiantly harder edged. Post-punk; post-shoegaze; post-Britpop; and despite some softer moments such as `Love’s Run Out’, the STARSAILOR-like `Out On My Own’ and the U2-esque `Fire That Burns’, CW had turned the amps up to 11 for the incendiary `Wake Up’, `Goodbye’, `Crying Shame’ and `Stuck’.
Retaining the Moulder connection; though sliding along the indie corridor to Prolifica Inc. Records, CIRCA WAVES abandoned their mini-metal motifs for a more streamline approach for third album, WHAT’S IT LIKE OVER THERE? (2019) {*7}. And somehow it all worked. Ready-made fest faves such as `Movies’, `Me, Myself And Hollywood’ and `Times Won’t Change Me’, transcended the compelling quartet into an all-encompassing alt-rock act who could easily shift gears from post-punk to soft-rock, or retro power-pop to dance and a smorgasbord of cross-pollinating genres.
© MC Strong/MCS July2019

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