Focusing on the concept of boundaries, Circa Waves segregates their fourth long player into two emotional states: the “happy” side and the “sad” side. What makes this idea interesting is that without the experience of vinyl or actually being able to determine where that line is drawn, the transition between happiness and melancholy is blurred. Kieren Shuddall extrapolates on this observation:
“I find this close proximity of immense sadness and happiness so jarring, bizarre and fascinating. Our brains rattle back and forth through emotions at such a rate that happiness and sadness no longer feel mutually exclusive.”
“Move to San Francisco” utilizes that systematic approach of West Coast pop and sunshine-drenched indie pop while lyrically postulating that the grass is always greener.
“I think that we should move to San Francisco,
that’s where the happy people go.
You say you want to go to San Francisco,
But I. . . I just don’t know.”
All this is a foundation while the chorus floats with shiny guitar jangle pop and suddenly, it gets stuck in your head. All you have to do is substitute San Francisco for anywhere else.
“Battered Bruised” utilizes contemporary indie pop antics to build a more introspective approach. The group looks to the framework of ‘60s soul to build a powerful moment that is more hopeful than heart ripping.
The standout song comes at the beginning of the album. “Jacqueline” is a musical serenade as if they are standing outside your window with a boombox held up as high as possible. The music serves as a celebration with “good times” heading our way.
Yet, what really gets the juices flowing is “Be Your Drug.” The spastic jam is the release that we need. It’s clearly Circa Waves getting their ya-ya’s out.
Sad Happy demonstrates Circa Wave’s propensity to write powerful songs that reflect how we can let go of extremes and breath in circumstances that conform into their natural state, whether it is jumping off the bed and rocking out to a cool jam or taking a moment to reflect within their catchy hooks and choruses.