Label: Diamond Formation Music
Genre: Pop Rock
Release Date: December 2nd
Dave Winkler , Lead Vocals/Guitar
Sophie Aurélia Young , Bass/Backing Vocals
Jon Crampton , Guitar/Backing Vocals
Alex Makarov , Drums/Backing Vocals
1. Save Your Life
3. Just Like in a Movie
4. Love is the Enemy
5. On Your Side
7. Wall Around Your Heart
8. A Couple More Years
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 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;
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 launch show is in London at the Underworld on November 26th. Ticket info below:
Reviewed by Adrian Hextall