How does Circa Waves’ fourth album fair?
There has been no break for Liverpool lads Circa Waves, after only nine months since their previous record What’s it Like Over There, their latest shiny album Happy has just been released. The seven track album comes as the first part of their double sided record cleverly named ‘Sad Happy’, and it can’t be coincidental that Happy is the first part to be released. The seven songs to be featured on this part of the album are cheerful, bright indie pop tracks, appropriately fitting into their ‘Happy’ label.
The first track to appear on the album is ‘Jacqueline’, a song released back in November 2019 and is one of my favourites on the record. Sticking to the theme of happiness, this song creates a feeling of empowerment and understanding of the difficulties many women feel in modern society. ‘It’s hard to make sense of the movie when you’re in the starring role’ is one of the many clever lyrics the four piece have written. There is a heavy focus on the vocals as many harmonies can be heard. Silence can’t be heard for one second, and our ears are completely spoilt for choice. There’s a common theme of vocal heavy tracks throughout the whole album, and the bands vocals are utilised as extra instruments. This adds extra depth to their overall feel-good indie vibe. ‘Move to San Francisco’ wrestles with the idea of moving to an exciting new city full of ‘happy people’ as it ‘seems the world has gone to shit again’, whilst questioning whether trying to escape is truly the answer. The chilled bass line creates a beach mood, possibly in an attempt to recreate the warm sunshine felt in San Francisco.
‘Call Your Name’ is a fellow fun indie pop track, drawing comparisons to the band’s popular songs such as ‘T-Shirt Weather’, and was clearly designed to be played in an arena. Once again, the sound is so joyous and full there’s a risk of it bursting into complete happiness, and the lyrics preach ‘if I call your name, will you come running’. ‘Wasted on You’ makes comments on today’s society in a funky, upbeat way – ‘a fight for fame no one wins today’, is accompanied by a punching bassline and ringing drums.
‘Be Your Drug’ has a slightly different, more edgy feeling as it is more centred around an electric guitar. There’s a loud instrumental section, allowing Circa Waves to bring elements of post-punk into their classic fuzzy sound. In complete contrast, there are some softer acoustic tracks (but don’t worry, they’re still happy sounding) such as ‘The Things We Knew Last Night’. Alongside the raw acoustic track, a dreamlike electric guitar plays short riffs, adding more texture, and someone can be heard whistling. It’s nostalgic, and reminiscent of the small but fond memories of a time gone by for some. The last track on the album is a fellow acoustic one called ‘Love You More’, and, as stated from the name, is a love song to someone who doesn’t love you back. The bleaker lyrics may act as a bridge between the ‘Happy’ and ‘Sad’ sides on the record, and the string section creates a deep orchestral sound with plenty of experimental layers.
Circa Waves leave a happy impression on our ears as the seven track album is full of sunshine and uplifting tracks, whilst also hinting at the ‘Sad’ side of the record which is yet to come.