tue 15/10/2019

CD: Circa Waves - What It's Like Over There | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Circa Waves - What It's Like Over There

CD: Circa Waves - What It's Like Over There

Power pop with a good mix of yin and yang

Water music

Circa Waves, the guitar-band from Liverpool, go over a storm at festivals and large venues. With simplicity, tightness and concentrated energy, they know how to play with the tension that can build between soft and hard, the yin and the yang of rock forms that continue to sound fresh because they're delivered with a sense of fun and the joy of making party music with catchy lyrics.

This is their third album, and they live up to the promise they offered back in 2013, when they first burst on the scene with punchy and uncomplicated power pop, crafted to please, little jewels of songwriting, with strong hooks and dramatic shifts in mood and tempo. They are well-served by a co-producing the album with Alan Moulder, who has worked with Foals, The Killers and Smashing Pumpkins. Lead singer and guitarist Kieran Shudall has one of those tenor to falsetto voices that reflect the fragile new masculinity that has become popular – and no doubt necessary – in an age of gradual female empowerment.

The songs are mostly about relationships and their frequent pitfalls and regret-full ends: everyday dramas elevated to the glory of anthems, as in “The Way We Say Goodbye”, where hurt is transmuted by the clatter and drive of guitars. Or “Sorry I’m Yours” where an all-too vulnerable Shudall sings “I’m not your hero…are you going to save me?” and later “goodbye, my pride has left me”, his wounds shored up by the crash of the music in a chorus that follows the song’s tentative first half.

“Saviour” which closes the album displays echoes of Zeppelin, churning rhythm guitar and high drama, but never grandiose or pompous as those bands of the 70s quickly became. The appeal of Circa Waves lies perhaps most in the enjoyably paradoxical combination of heavy rock - almost macho but not quite – combined with the bruised charm of Kieran Shudall’s voice. And the sheer fizz and fun of it all, with not a shadow of gloom anywhere at all.

They know how to play with the tension that can build between soft and hard


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.