Two years on from their debut Young Chasers, Circa Waves are back with sophomore effort Different Creatures – a darker, heavier record, but one that is still faithful to some core elements of their sound. Their gig at O2 Academy Sheffield was the first of a series of stops in support of the new album.

The bar had been set very high by stellar emerging acts INHEAVEN and Magic Gang, but Circa Waves were more than able to deliver the goods. Huge mosh pits formed the second that the first chords of Different Creatures opener ‘Wake Up’ kicked in. This was swiftly followed up by three of the biggest and best cuts from debut record Young Chasers. ‘Get Away’ sounded particularly polished, while ‘So Long’ and ‘Lost It’ led to more chaotic scenes and nostalgia from summer festivals.

New tracks ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Out On My Own’ showcased their more recently matured sound. The depth of lead singer Kieran Shudall’s vocals particularly shone through on ‘Out On My Own’, a moving slower number relating to the difficult issue of depression. “Are you still with us, Sheffield?” Kieran asked – he didn’t have to, as this was a crowd well and truly in the palm of his hand. Screams of “I’m a little too young with not enough time” echoed around the Academy during old favourite ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ and everyone finally had a chance to catch their breath when he re-entered the stage alone to perform the resonant new acoustic ballad ‘Love’s Run Out’.

Ending on snappy latest single ‘Fire That Burns’ and staple track ‘T-Shirt Weather’, Circa Waves proved they have what it takes to go the distance. The combination of their new, edgier material with old favourites demonstrates how they have made a consistent, compelling second record. You’re not likely to see many more uplifting or well-rehearsed live bands this year.