Written throughout the pandemic and produced by Kieran Shuddall himself, ‘Never Going Under’ is the most comprehensive Circa Waves album to date, both thematically and musically. On the song ‘Northern Town’, Shuddall sings of his father delivering him on the landing of their house, which leads onto ‘Carry You Home’, reflecting on the birth of the frontman’s own child – the 11 tracks here carve a path through the frontman’s entire life, and onwards into the future.
They say that becoming a parent changes your entire perception of the world, and it rings true for Shuddall. Becoming a father for the first time during the pandemic, the songwriter immediately began looking at the world around him differently, and seeing a different purpose for the songs he was writing. The band’s fifth studio album sees Shuddall and his band looking at a confusing, uncertain world through a new lens, but musically they have never sounded more sure of themselves. The path ahead is completely unknown to them, but they’re ready to tread it fearlessly.
Musically, it’s also the most wide-ranging record they’ve produced, from the sprightly indie-pop of ‘Do You Wanna Talk’ to the gigantic ‘Hell On Earth’ and blissful ‘Your Ghost’. Shuddall describes a “sad euphoria” at the core of his musical inspirations for the album. “Even if I'm talking about something quite moody or something a little bit down in the lyrics, it's good to put a spin on things,” he says. “The album's called ‘Never Going Under’, which we want to be a resilient message, and for kids to feel like they can dance around to it in a cathartic way, because everyone's been pent up for the last few years. I used to love bands like MGMT who wrote really big songs that were euphoric, but ultimately they were quite sad in their lyrics.” Shuddall calls the album “a snapshot of the fear we all feel today and the resilience we will need to get through it,” and the music on the record is plenty big and bright enough to grasp hope from hopelessness.