Review – Circa Waves: Different Creatures

     Circa Waves’s first album, ‘Young Chasers‘ was summery, indie rock fun that I still love now. Their follow-up, Different Creatures, is just that – a different creature to that first release. Their new music is still in the indie rock vein, but less bright and summery. They’ve gone down a darker, grittier route, both musically and lyrically. There was a sense of nostalgia on ‘Young Chasers’ for music from a few years earlier, whereas ‘Different Creatures’ feels more modern, and more like the music of other rock bands today.

Circa Waves Different Creatures album cover art

     The music is still full of catchy riffs and lots of tracks feel fast-paced and energetic, but this time it feels like the energy of night, or underground clubs and dark city streets. Tracks like ‘Wake Up’, ‘Fire That Burns’ and the title track ‘Different Creatures’ are all like this, with strong catchy hooks, and energy rippling through them. The lyrics too are deeper and darker in meaning, with lots of abrupt, hard-hitting statements, and even some political content. ‘Goodbye’ is actually quite aggressive at times, a side of Circa Waves I don’t think we’ve seen much of yet. ‘Crying Shame’ and ‘Without You’ are perhaps a little brighter in tone, tracks that I want to bop around to, a little more reminiscent of their first release, but both still have impactful, emotional lyrics about love and love lost. ‘A Night on the Broken Tiles’ is a long, swooping story, with a bigger sound than I’m used to hearing from this band, while ‘Old Friends’ has a nostalgic, almost bluesy feel to it, as it sings of friendship, and some conflicted emotions. And ‘Love’s Run Out’ is stripped back to just a guitar and vocals, for a bare and emotional song.

     It’s important for bands to experiment with their sounds, to try out new ideas and to evolve, as no one wants to release the same sounding album time and time again, and Circa Waves have done just that. They sound more mature and have written music with more meaning than they had previously, and overall it’s a very good album. But do I miss the youthful, energetic fun of their first release? Yes, I do. ‘Different Creatures’ is exactly in line with my tastes, and I do really enjoy it, but I also feel like it doesn’t stand out to me as much as ‘Young Chasers’ did, as that first record had a more unique sound for the time of its release. I’ll still listen to both, and I’m happy to hear a more meaningful and evolving music coming from the band, but I think ‘Young Chasers’ is still my favourite for now.