Tuesday, Oct 03, 2017 8:00 PM EDT
(7:00 PM Doors)
9th Ward at Babeville, Buffalo, NY
“I feel like I’ve got a fire in my belly with this record,” says Kieran Shudall, almost straight away. “Now, I want us to be the biggest and the best. I want to headline festivals. Whereas with the first one I was a bit more like, ‘Oh I’ll take it as it comes, and see what happens…”
We all know what happened with ‘Young Chasers’, the debut album by Circa Waves, that arrived in March of last year hitting the top 10. That it berthed four Radio 1 A-list singles, the most notable – and for a time completely unavoidable – of which was ‘T-Shirt Weather’. That after its release they seemed to rise very fast indeed, to the extent that a mere six months on, the whole of a sold out Brixton Academy was jumping up and down as one, singing every last line of its thirteen direct, propulsive, carefree, indie pop songs. “When I saw the way that people connected with it,” Kieran continues, “I really started to believe in myself. I’m a different person now.”
This much is emphatically evident in the new songs, and the second album. From the very first moment, it sounds like a different, louder band, and showcases Kieran’s disenchantment with the world he sees, with more in common with Foo Fighters or even Nirvana than with, say, The Strokes. Co-produced by Alan Moulder (“He heard us on the radio, and said to his engineer: ‘Didn’t this band want to work with me? Why the fuck am I not doing their second record?’”), the pop sensibility is still there, but now it comes buried in up-to-11 alt-rock guitars. It is very much not the sound of a band giving people more of what they know that people want from them. In every respect, it is the sound of a band who are going with their hearts, changing up because they have to, taking a risk and moving forward. “I think the rest of the band were quite shocked when they first heard these songs,” Kieran notes. “I mean, they’ve all always been into heavier stuff as well. But I think everyone was a little bit nervous at first: just going, ‘Will the fans like this?’ But then we just thought, ‘Well, fuck it, we can’t just keep doing the same thing. So we then just had to embrace it.”
The heavier sound, also, has brought a renewed excitement to Circa Waves. “We started playing them live in the room, and there was so much more energy than the first record,” says Kieran. “I think the songs are big enough, and I think we’re easily good enough live, for us to be as big as whoever now. I don’t see what the difference is between us and the bands above us anymore.
“I’ve come to a point where I’m like, ‘Why the fuck not?’”