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It’s a cruel world out there. There are few places more reflective of this than in the realm of guitar music in the UK, where things became increasingly cutthroat in the second half of the 2000s. For every Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Kooks, there was a Pigeon Detectives, Hard-Fi and Rakes. If you succeeded, there were at least a dozen other bands to be stepped on to allow your ascension to the top – and there was no guarantee you would stay there, either.
This context has to be given when discussing laconic Liverpudlians Circa Waves. Not because they are a part of this movement of indie rock, but because they are a product of it. This is a band of the right age to have been obsessed fans when people like Ezra Koenig, Alex Turner and Luke Pritchard were at peak levels of cool. They’re also the exact kind of marketable, clean-cut white kids that major label executives eat for breakfast.
In other words, Circa Waves will either be playing Wembley Stadium within two years or serving pies at the concession stand. It’s difficult to ascertain, given both how fickle this kind of industry can be at times as well as how indeterminate in nature their debut album, Young Chasers, turns out to be.
You may well have already heard Get Away, the sparkling slice of endless-summer jangle that boosted the group’s profile to begin with. It’s sweet, it’s simple, it’s catchy and it was the only logical way to start this album. It’s also so lacking in identity it’s understandable if you mistook it for another band’s efforts.
Things don’t get quite as unbearable as the title track, but they do get… the same? If you were the betting type and wagered that not one guitar pedal or amplifier was even so much as tweaked throughout the album’s entirety, you may well walk away much richer than before.
There’s no push of the boundaries, no statement of intent and no definitive traits. Given, these don’t all typically arise on debut, but at least one of them certainly wouldn’t have hurt. Young Chasers slips by painlessly and inconsequentially, which makes it especially hard to criticise.
You can’t hate Circa Waves – not only are they not worth the energy, but there are so many more bands deserving of it.