The new Circa Waves album, Sad Happy, is an innovative album that continues to develop the career of the now seven year old band from Liverpool. 

A year on from their last album release What’s It Like Over There?, Circa Waves release a album split into two emotions, which as the name suggests, is Happy and Sad. These two sides of the album are seen to encapsulate the despair and euphoria of life. In fact, ‘Move to San Francisco’ perfectly sums up the emotions running through my head in these times of Coronavirus, as the opening lines, “… it seems the world has gone to s*** again” really does resonate with me. Unfortunately, I am unable to pack my bags and take my mind off the new stresses of life by moving to the warm surroundings of San Francisco where “all the happy people go” due to Donald Trump banning travel to the USA from the UK. Instead, I will remain in self isolation tuning into the lifestream of my 9am lecture from the comfortable surroundings of my bed, continuing to think of alternatives to toilet roll.   

Even though the album is split into Sad and Happy, the sad side of the album is still filled with the upbeat nature that features so heavily in their past songs such as ‘T-Shirt weather’. Yet, continue to talk about the pains of life. Songs such as ‘Battered and Bruised’, discuss the horrendous nature of a break up, epitomising the painful heartache and sadness that accompanies the collapse of a relationship. However, in a wonderful Circa Waves style they are able to oppose the lyrics of the song with a contradicting tune that gives happiness towards the sadness of the words, once again reiterating the album’s purpose of bringing the Sad with the Happy. 

Helena Wadia of the Evening Standard  superbly describes the album as music which explores “… both sides of the millennial brain,”, and this can be seen as what the lead singer and chief Circa Waves songwriter, Kieran Shudall, is trying to achieve. The first side of the album Happy (which was released in January) seeks to explore the pleasure, adventures and risks of a relationship. The whole album is enhanced with relatable experiences which a millennial or a generation x cohort would be able to understand. Once again, Circa Waves sums up the lives of young adults, which has previously brought much success to previous albums. 

The penultimate song ‘Train To Lime Street’, provides an instrumental break from the world and reflection time on your life and the album, giving you two minutes to fully absorb the story and experience Sad Happy provides you with, before beautifully flowing into ‘Birthday Cake’. ‘Birthday Cake’ excellently finishes the immersive album with a slow relaxing song about the fears of growing old and time flashing by without any developments within your own life. Relatable? I’d say so. 

Sad Happy is an essential album to accompany you through this painful world, that once again has gone to s***. 

3 out of 5 stars


Image Credit: Katy Cummings


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