"Heat Waves" is about a man who's failing at a romantic relationship. He doesn't feel like he's giving his partner the life that she deserves. It differs from the typical heartache song in that all of the angst is directed inwardly. Frontman Dave Bayley never blames or condemns his partner - only himself. You just need a better life than this You need something I can never give Fake water all across the road It's gone now the night
The term "heat wave" usually denotes a stretch of uncommonly hot weather, but that's not the way that Bayley uses it here. In this song, the term is used in the sense of a heat haze, which is sometimes also called a highway mirage. Both names refer to the wavy air that rises off asphalt on extremely hot days. Bayley is using it as a metaphor for his own failed promises. He's tried to offer his love all the things she wants and needs but they're just like heat waves rising off hot asphalt, illusory and without substance.
The band recorded the music video for the song during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their neighbors filmed it on their own phones. The video shows Bayley carting an amp in a wagon through London. He reaches an empty music hall and performs this song with the rest of the band. Bayley called the video "a love letter to live music and the culture and togetherness surrounding it."
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