Star Circus – Separate Sides – Review

Tell me you love music and bands from the 80s without telling me you love music and bands from the 80s.

Label: Diamond Formation Music

Genre: Pop Rock 

Release Date: December 2nd 

Line Up:

Dave Winkler , Lead Vocals/Guitar
Sophie Aurélia Young , Bass/Backing Vocals
Jon Crampton , Guitar/Backing Vocals
Alex Makarov , Drums/Backing Vocals

Track Listing:

1. Save Your Life
2. Something
3. Just Like in a Movie
4. Love is the Enemy
5. On Your Side
6. Circles
7. Wall Around Your Heart
8. A Couple More Years
9. Bridges
10. Times Get Tough
11. Before the Song is Over

Tell me you love music and bands from the 80s without telling me you love music and bands from the 80s. Pausing for a moment, Star Circus frontman, guitarist and founder, Dave Winkler, handed a glass of amber nectar to me, decried ‘hold my beer’ and as 2022 closes, delivered Star Circus’s debut album ‘Separate Sides’. 

Now I have no issue whatsoever, at being handed someone’s beer, so long as they realise they’re not getting it back. As I finish the glass, sitting next to me (which to be fair is my own glass of rather delicious IPA) I’m listening to a band that has grown up with and is clearly inspired by the likes of Queen, Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy and more of their ilk. As with all things, when you listen to an album for the first time, the sounds coming through the headphones will stir memories, riffs, styles, choruses, that connect the old with the new. 

It’s fair to say that this is the album Cheap Trick wish they’d written sometime in the last 30 years. It also highlights why Def Leppard took Cheap Trick out on tour with them for their ‘Hysteria 30th Anniversary’ dates a few years ago because the two bands side by side compliment each other perfectly. It’s that complimentary approach that Dave and the rest of Star Circus apply to their own brand of music so well. 

From the opening bars of ‘Save Your Life’ it’s clear that the experience of playing in multiple bands over the years, often as the guy stage left or right who’s job is to make the other one, front and centre look and sound as good as possible, has paid off in spades. Imagine the football coach who’s spent their formative years building up the ultimate playbook, and now, just when it’s needed, they get to unleash the ‘best of’ approach to pretty much dismiss the opposition from the off. 

The influences stretch far and wide, there’s even a hint at one point of some Elvis Costello and the keys work from ‘Oliver’s Army’. For me that ticks a huge box as it was the first single I ever bought as child, handing over my old £1 note (that was a thing) to the nice man in HMV and getting the picture sleeve version (rather than the paper version \ with a large hole in the middle) which was backed with a cover of ‘My Funny Valentine’. Costello aside though, that playbook that brings to the table the best of all things (including the above) means that there is absolutely something for everyone on the album that that’s the hook to draw people in and keep them entertained for the duration.

The band have already released some 4 singles from the album, clearly being steered by the right minds in the industry to make sure that they keep drip feeding the fan base, spreading the word and backing up the tracks with selective live shows as well. More on the live shows at the end but the video that really hits home for me is ‘Bridges’, not least because it contains some of the live footage I shot of the band at one of the first post-COVID shows the band had performed at Camden Assembly. Check out the track below; 

The way I’m writing this review, waxing lyrical about everything I’m hearing, you’d think I was on the band’s payroll but the simple response to that is that this is pure enjoyment. It could easily be an album that follows the current classic rock revisited trend but many, many, many bands out there who can undoubtedly play well and perform tight shows forget the golden rule of thumb… write memorable songs. This is where Star Circus shine. 

It’s not that every track is flawless, there are a couple of moments where Dave really pushes his voice to the max and possibly goes beyond his comfort zone with his range. The songs though, burrow deep and stick there. As I type, without the album playing at the side of me, ‘Just Like In A Movie’ is bouncing around in my brain and the smile it delivers is one that will stay for hours.

The album therefore can be seen as a celebration of all things past present and future. The past celebrates the influences and musical styles that have shaped Winkler’s and the band’s career. The present showcases an act that remembers that the song is the key and if that’s memorable then the fans will latch on to you. The future comes with the knowledge that this is the band’s debut and if there is more of this sumptuous pop rock to come then the world will be a better place for it. 

The album launch show is in London at the Underworld on November 26th. Ticket info below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/star-circus-debut-album-launch-at-the-underworld-tickets-427381628957

Score 9/10

Reviewed by Adrian Hextall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.starcircus.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/DWStarCircus

https://www.youtube.com/starcircus

 

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments

 
Categories
Album ReleasesAlbum ReviewsAudio Interviews
EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022
EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022

EVANESCENCE & WITHIN TEMPTATION WORLDS COLLIDE AT THE O2 ARENA, LONDON ON MONDAY, 14TH NOV 2022

Photo Credit: Daisy Robinson

Revolution Saints - "Eagle Flight" (Official Video) | Deen Castronovo, Jeff Pilson, Joel Hoekstra

RELATED BY

UA-20474228-2