REVIEW - Star Circus - 'Separate Sides' (Album - Diamond Formation Music)
After spells in Bordello Rose, Renegade Playboys and Trophies Of Man and being a hired gun for acts such as Bow Wow Wow, Johnny Lima and Ryan Hamilton, guitarist and vocalist Dave Winkler put together Star Circus to create an album featuring his undeniable guitar skills and song-writing craft. And here is that album - 'Separate Sides' - a glorious throwback to all those melodic bands of the 70s and 80s such as Def Leppard, Cheap Trick and Queen, brought up-to-date and featuring soaring melodies, choruses that won't leave you alone, and a classic sheen to eleven tracks of top-notch AOR and pop-rock. Ably backed by Jon Crampton (guitar / backing vocals), Sophie Aurelia Young (bass / backing vocals) and Alex Makarov (drums / backing vocals), 'Separate Sides' is an album that will delight fans of hook-heavy rock and pop with tasteful musicianship and rousing harmonies.
Opener 'Save Your Life' sets out the album's stall with its nagging, insistent riff, catchy chorus, irresistible energy and tinkling keyboards that recall late 80s Whitesnake and Def Leppard. This leads into the fabulous 'Something' which is four minutes of pop-rock perfection which should by all rights be a charting single and along with the usual ear-worm chorus should have you jumping up and down uncontrollably. The equally catchy 'Just Like A Movie' finds time for a saxophone break while 'Love Is The Enemy' has a harder-edged riff in a Bon Jovi / Boston vein and also the first of a number of acoustic touches that pepper the album. There's more acoustic 'loveliness' within 'Bridges' - a real anthemic 'lighters aloft' tune with some effective slide guitar in the mix while Queen style backing vocals are to the fore in 'Wall Around Your Heart' and 'A Couple More Years' that both bring the catchy choruses again (especially on 'A Couple More Years'). There's some fine guitarwork and a nice chord sequence on 'Circles' and some fiery, twisting riffing on 'Times Get Tough' and the album finishes with 'Before The Song Is Over' featuring some great dual lead guitar playing and another fantastic chorus to round off the album in fine style.
'Separate Sides' is a classy album with all the requisite touches required for a great pop-rock album. Lovers of that 80s melodic rock sound will find plenty to enjoy in the record's innate musicianship, well-crafted songs, glorious harmonies and hooky choruses and should snap this album up when it is released on the 2nd December. And let's hope there's more to come from this exciting new band.
'Separate Sides' is released on the 2nd December and will be available on all the major digital sites alongside CD versions available from the Star Circus Bandcamp site - www.starcircus.bandcamp.com