Radar reviewed both 'Different Creatures' by Circa Waves and 'Wired' by Mallory Knox which have both been released today.
'Different Creatures' by Circa Waves
The Liverpudlian indie rock group Circa Waves announced their second album ‘Different Creatures’ on the 24th November 2016. However, if you think you know Circa Waves then think again. This isn’t the same band that released ‘Young Chasers’ back in 2015; long gone are the summer festival vibes. In its place is a darkness, if ‘Young Chasers’ was an album for summer this would be for winter. The album is a massive step away from the first. Its less indie and its lyrics revolve around the lead singer, Kieran Shudall’s dark demons.
‘Fire That Burns’ was the second single from the album and just like lead single ‘Wake Up’ it signifies Circa Waves’ new direction. The structure of it is reminiscent of Pixies, its got a heavy chorus followed by soft verses. The lyrics alone are so intense “You call me a liar / You call me so innocent / But you lit the fire / Inside us / I’m not innocent / I lit the fire” and paired along with Kieran Shudall’s passionate performance on the song it is not hard to see why BBC Radio 1 named it the ‘Hottest Record In The World’.
Biffy Clyro sounds like a major influence on ‘Goodbye’; take away the vocals and you wouldn’t be a fool for thinking that it is Biffy. It’s one of the heavier tracks on the album; pounding instruments, angry lyrics “Where do you get off” and rough vocals make for an explosive track.
‘Crying Shame’ is my stand out song from the album. Punchy guitar riffs are in full force in this one and we are even treated to a couple of bold guitar solos. What is so good about the song is how well the moody lyrics and angsty vocals complement each other. The lyrics ooze desperation (in the best way possible); it depicts a feeling of want and longing for a love lost, but at the same time it’s not whiny.
When you get to the seventh song, ‘Love’s Run Out’, on the album you’re greeted with something completely different, almost strange in a way. The song includes a single acoustic guitar and the vocals are a soft touch. On the surface, it presents itself as a love song, except the man in question seems far more interested in the girl. It could be a reflection on a love of Kieran Shudall that wasn’t reciprocated. It’s a depressing one and reminds me quite a bit of Radiohead, it’s got the same sort of sad vocals that Thom Yorke possesses. ‘Love’s Run Out’, seems oddly placed in this album, it’s more of an interlude than anything else. Nevertheless, it’s an accomplished attempt at bringing a more mature sound to their music.
The album feels like an attempt to push the band into the limelight of becoming a bigger and more ‘grown-up’ band, with the dark lyrics it just might pay off. It’s an incredible album and - almost - every single song is a blessing to listen to. Much unlike ‘Young Chasers’ this album isn’t playing it safe, they completely let loose.
'Wired' by Mallory Knox
Mallory Knox, an English alt-rock band hailing from Cambridge, began their journey in 2009. They wanted a name that matched their “dark edge and dark side”, so of course Mallory Knox seemed like an obvious choice; much like Mallory from 'Natural Born Killers' they wanted to be uncontrollable and on the hunt. However, they’ve been lumped with the term “nice guys”, so this album is a sort of redemption for them.
Lead single ‘Giving It Up’ is a big sound from the boys, it’s an aggressive and powerful performance from lead singer Mikey Chapman; his vocals switch effortlessly from the falsetto to a raspy growl. The song touches on this generation’s obsession with “selfie-culture” and the “short shelf-life that we exist in.” Mikey says: “I’ve done my time / I feel like giving it up”.
Second song on the album, ‘California’, gives off a real ‘Angels and Airwaves’ vibe and much like the final song on the album, ‘Mother’, they are reaching for epic heights with these two tracks. ‘California’ brings the live raucous to the record; plug in, close your eyes and imagine you’re surrounded by a crowd. It works.
Based on the real-life experiences of bassist Sam Douglas, ‘Better Off Without You’, explores his battle with anxiety and his discontentment with doctors and their attitude towards giving out medication freely. “I'd like to say I'm better off without you / But I can't no way you won't believe me”. At the same time he’s aware he can’t speak for other people who suffer from anxiety but it’ll help people to see they’re not alone in the world.
‘Wired’ isn’t breaking any ground, that has to be said, but what it is doing is developing their sound; songs like ‘Giving It Up’ can propel this band further into the alt-rock world and broaden their fan base into new heights. Mallory Knox are a band who somehow manage to continuously develop their music whilst still staying honest to where they came from. What’s so endearing about this album is the complete openness and honesty in regards to some of the band members mental health; it’s giving awareness a different platform and that’s is truly inspiring.
Both of these albums are available to buy and stream now, check them out!