Circa Waves – Young Chasers

The Liverpudlians rekindle the spirit of The Strokes on their debut. It's a blast.

As four Liverpudlian lads playing jaunty, catchy three-minute pop songs on guitars – no ’50s slant, no electronic R&B, not the tiniest hint of a psychedelic tribal sacrifice – you won’t be allowed to like Circa Waves. Snobs will demand this debut album comes plastered with stickers reading ‘Warning: Contains Blatant Strokes And Toxic Levels Of Kook, View And Wombat’. Sniping reviewers will paint their fans as filthy scavengers of the indie landfill, gnawing on the rotting carcass of The Pigeon Detectives. And, for fear of being restrained and incarcerated in some institution for the culturally remedial, nobody will mention how refreshing, fun and free it all sounds.

So whisper it: Circa Waves are a blast. First single ‘Get Away’, ‘My Love’ and ‘T-Shirt Weather’ tear from the traps with the vivacity of Two Door Cinema Club mainlining military-grade Merseybeat. The title-track fires out jubilant “oooh-oooh”s, ‘Lost It’ is prime Shins and ‘Good For You’, ‘The Luck Has Gone’ and ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ wish they’d been on ‘Is This It’. ‘Deserve This’ even recalls Swedish pop of the ’90s – bands like The Wannadies and The Cardigans, the sparkly outsider icing around the edge of Britpop. All glam-slamming indie pop angles are covered, with a distinctly contemporary alt-indie panache.
OK, the lyrical themes explored (girls, sunshine, youthful exploits) are basic. But Keiran Shudall’s couplets are so deathlessly joyful – “We are flying through our best years/And I’m not quite myself/Please take me out tonight/And lie with me tonight” goes ‘Best Years’ – that their dumbness is forgivable. On ‘T-Shirt Weather’ – whose riff is as jaunty and exuberant as the sunny teenage car journeys it references – Shuddall breathlessly remembers ”singing our lungs out in the backseat together” and “seatbelts burning our fingers”. The title track’s zippy ode to youth is simpler still: ”So I was young only for a heartbeat”, ”Don’t waste my time/Make your mind up”.

But Circa Waves will be huge because even the most po-faced generation needs light relief and, this last half-decade, all the pop kids have had is the hollow faux-indie of Bastille. So sod the scowlers, consider this your permission to pogo.