Label: Diamond Formation Music
Release date: December 2
Dave Winkler, lead vocals/guitar
Sophie Aurélia Young, Bass/Backing Vocals
Jon Crampton, guitar/backing vocals
Alex Makarov, drums/backing vocals
List of tracks:
1. Save your life
3. Like in a movie
4. Love is the enemy
5. On your side
7. Wall around your heart
8. A few more years
10. Times are getting tough
11. Before the Song Ends
Tell me you like 80s music and bands without telling me you like 80s music and bands. Pausing for a moment, Star Circus frontman, guitarist and founder Dave Winkler held out a glass of amber nectar, decried “hold my beer” and, in late 2022, delivered Star Circus’ debut album “Separate Sides.”
Now I have no problem receiving someone’s beer, as long as they realize they don’t get it back. As I finish the drink, seated next to me (which to be fair is my own rather delicious glass of IPA), I listen to a band that grew up with it and is clearly inspired by Queen, Def Leppard, Cheap Trick , Thin Lizzy and many more. As with all things, when you listen to an album for the first time, the sounds that come out of the headphones will awaken memories, riffs, styles, choruses, that connect the old with the new.
It’s fair to say that this is the album that Cheap Trick would have liked to write over the last 30 years. It also underlines why Def Leppard took Cheap Trick on tour with them for their ‘Hysteria 30th Anniversary’ dates a few years ago, as the two bands side by side complement each other perfectly. It’s this complementary approach that Dave and the rest of Star Circus apply so well to their own brand of music.
From the opening bars of “Save Your Life”, it’s clear that the experience of playing in several bands over the years, often as stage guys left or right whose job it is to make sure the other, front and center, to look and sound as good as possible, paid off. Imagine the football manager who spent his formative years building the ultimate playbook, and now, just when it’s needed, he can unleash the “best” approach to pretty much dismiss the opposition right away.
The band have already released around 4 singles from the album, clearly being led by the good minds in the industry to ensure they continue to fuel the fan base, spread the word and back up the tracks with selective live shows. More on the concerts at the end, but the video that really touches me is “Bridges”, especially because it contains some of the live footage I shot of the band during one of the first concerts post -COVID which the band had played at Camden Assembly. Check out the track below;
It’s not that every track is perfect, there are a few moments where Dave really pushes his vocals to the max and maybe pushes his comfort zone with his range. The songs however, sink deep and stay there. As I type, without the album playing beside me, “Just Like In A Movie” bounces around in my brain and the smile it delivers is one that will stick around for hours.
The album launch show is in London at the Underworld on November 26th. Ticket information below:
Reviewed by Adrian Hextall