Circa Waves kick off the year with the release of Happy, the first half of their upcoming album, Happy Sad. Last year saw the birth of a trend in which artists would split their new records in half and release each segment months apart. Personally, I feel like this devalues the impact of a new album but as a blogger searching for something to write about at the start of the new year, I appreciate it. Circa Waves, you’ve done me a solid here.
Since the release of their breakout debut Young Chasers back in 2015, Circa Waves have taken their sound into a more mature direction. 2017’s Different Creatures had a darker tone it, while last year’s What’s It Like Over There? was full of introspective emotion. Happy, perhaps unsurprisingly, sees the band return to their Poppier side, despite the moody artwork.
“Jacqueline” kicks off the album with a welcome introduction to preppy guitars and soaring chorus hooks, showing that this side of Circa Waves never really left. It’s delightfully bright, and leads in nicely to the storming flurry of riffs that erupts out of “Be Your Drug”. The sounds of “Move to San Francisco” ease into the ears as care-free basslines and snappy rhythms really sit well in the lugholes, becoming one of the highlights of the record.
The first half of Happy Sad is a solid set of songs that immerse you into a world filled with catchy melodies, upbeat riffs and heartfelt harmonies. Circa Waves continue to evolve their sound ever so slightly with each release, but I’m dead happy with how they’ve progressed while holding on to the main traits. I can’t wait to have my heart torn apart by Sad.