The Liverpool group Circa Waves slot firmly into the proud tradition of British bands that pair tumbling guitars with wryly-observed slice-of-life lyrics that feel yanked from the tobacco-stained pages of an old mod pulp novel. Think a less-ramshackle Libertines or Supergrass if they'd been more inspired by the Buzzcocks than the Kinks, and you're getting close. On stage at the Hype Hotel Wednesday afternoon (March 18) they transformed that kind of lager-drunk rambunctiousness into big, battering songs that seemed to hurtle forward on the strength of their own momentum.

"Young Chasers" was a giddly tangle of barbed-wire guitars, big pealing leads pulling out from the melee early and often. "Talking Out Loud" was yanked along by a taut, wiry guitar and built to a bug-eyed, barreling chorus. Kieran Shudall seemed to slalom between the riffs; he belted out each verse breathlessly, like he was trying to outrun the song itself. On "My Love," he bobbed and weaved between big, hammering guitars, winding his way to a gorgeous, slow-opening chorus.

But more than anything what the band radiated was a sense of pure joy.

There was a breathless exhilaration to their songs, the vibrating energy of a band trying to convey enthusiasm and optimism with just a bagful of booming chords. Near the end of their set, Shudall implored the SXSW crowd, "If anyone is drunk enough to dance, you should start dancing right now." It was only mid-afternoon, but nearly everyone in the room took him up on his offer.

Brought to you by Mazda, official automobile sponsor of #HypeON.

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