“Tipped for greatness.” “2013′s answer to The Vaccines.” “Harking back to a time when The Libertines and The Strokes were in their pomp.” “The Next Big Thing.”
If you were to believe the hype, Liverpool band Circa Waves have a lot to live up to. For a relatively new band with a limited repertoire- indeed, one who have yet to even release an album- these press labels could be considered counterproductive; many bands have disappeared swiftly down the dumper under the weight of such expectations. Can Circa Waves buck that trend? On the evidence of last night’s show at The Haunt, Brighton, there’s a significant chance that they can.
You may have noted the date in the opening paragraph and thought it a misprint. It isn’t. The band have spent the best part of two years honing their craft, writing and recording new songs and building a reputation, despite having only half a dozen recorded works available. They are currently headlining for the first time, but you may have caught them on the NME Awards Tour, at Glastonbury, or more recently supporting The Libertines across the UK. They are shortly to embark on another stint as a support act, opening for The 1975 in Australia during January, following which we are apparently to expect the release of that long awaited first album. Nothing has been rushed, and that steady pace has worked well as it means that they can deliver quality rather than quantity.
From the moment they bounded onto the stage and struck up the opening bars of Young Chasers, until they took their leave with the dying embers of Get Away ringing in our ears, Circa Waves provided a show filled with energy, originality and direction. There was an obvious confidence -even swagger- to their performance, and for much of the evening, particularly on the fabulous song-of-the-year contender Stuck In My Teeth and the jangly guitar led 100 Strangers, the audience were completely engaged. Even those who had seemingly come along only to weigh up these new pretenders and didn’t seem to have any familiarity with the material being presented to them were tapping their feet throughout.
That’s not to say that the band delivered a show of indie-pop perfection. On a number of occasions they powered through a song before ending it abruptly, as if they couldn’t quite work out how it should finish. Singer Kieran was obviously very comfortable in the company of his band mates but seemed far less comfortable when talking to the audience. And- though it might seem rather churlish- their set list, though very good, is perhaps a little one dimensional; you know exactly what you’re going to get, and it is very well delivered, but there is a distinct lack of variety. That said, all of this will undoubtedly be ironed out with experience, and as a large section of the crowd jumped and waved their hands in the air during Get Away it was quite clear than nobody present was particularly disappointed.
Grandiose comparisons apart, Circa Waves have become very good at just being themselves. That’s not to say that they don’t have a tinge of The Libertines or The Vaccines about them; indeed on occasions you could probably introduce The Kooks or even Supergrass into that equation- but you shouldn’t look out for their music because you think they might sound like somebody else. In the long term, whilst it’s very nice to be mentioned in the same breath as your heroes, only developing your own identity will ensure longevity. And on that note, there’s every chance that if their progress continues at such a pace it won’t be too long before you will be reading headlines comparing up and coming bands with a rather different “Fab Four.”
Published on in Random Ramblings.