Classic Rock Magazine Album Review:
“Quintessential NYC sneer‘n’swagger propels dynamic, accessible material largely teetering on the right side of wrong.” – 7/10 Stars
AOR Magazine (Classic Rock Magazine)
“Roll up, roll up for some party time rock n’ roll.
Hailing from New York, Circus Life is a trio of established musicians. Little Secrets is their debut, offering 14 tracks (including a cover of Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up,’ with a great guitar sound, but sounding too much like the original). Tommy, Jakk and Rev deliver their songs with the energy and swagger of 80’s sleaze rock, in the vein of early Motley Crue or Faster Pussycat, but with a modern edge. The overall sound is tight and tuneful, with very heavy guitar in places. Tommy’s vocals on the slower tracks (of which there are several) show more depth to his abilities. Highlights are ‘Hard to Breathe,’ which is slow and melodic, and ‘Loud Talk,’ with its brutal intro and Steven Tyler-esque vocals. Formulaic and clichéd in places, Little Secrets is enjoyable all the same.” – 7/10 Stars
Fireworks Magazine – UK
U.S. newbies Circus Life like to describe themselves as ‘pure rock and roll’, and it seems to be a trend that bands are happy these days to strip down to the basics and bash out a few guitar heavy tunes like their grandparents used to do in the late sixties, except with bigger flares.
They certainly start off on the right foot, with “Blown Away” hitting the listener like a bullet between the synapses. Yeah, it’s pure rock and roll all right, all attitude, alienation and, well, some other stuff that begins with ‘A’. It’s good, is what I’m saying. Tommy Zamp has a good, solid vocal that dances between Mick Jagger, Axl Rose and a ton of modern Indie singers, and he’s backed by plenty of crunchy, angry guitar tunes that straddle the indie and rock divide with aplomb. You have to enjoy a band with a song called “Quicky Licky Nicky’ – it’s a law, or an old charter or something. There’s also a nice ballad in the shape of “Little Too Late”, a decent, winding down instrumental at the end called “Muse”, plus a shite cover of that well known crappy Paula Abdul tune “Straight Up”. That aside, “Little Secrets” is a very strong album that should appeal to rockers, sleazebags and Kings of Leon fans alike.
When they go for it, Circus Life, are very entertaining indeed, with the more ballady tracks sensibly containing their own edge rather that being straight out blub fests. “I’m Leaving”, for example, is both wimpy and hard edged at the same time, which is a nice trick if you can do it. Overall, I think this is a fine piece of work, although it does lack a few ‘killer’ tracks that would elevate it to a more essential status.
Nevertheless, “Little Secrets” is a fine debut that crosses the borders between classic rock, modern rock and sleaze with some style.
Uber Rock Magazine
This is good. Actually, that probably doesn't do it anywhere near the justice it deserves. This is really good.
Imagine a Monaco fronted Enuff Z'Nuff backed up by the Brides Of Destruction. Just take that in for a minute and think of how many cool songs would be produced.....
The quality of performance is great on this debut disc from the New York band but it's the songs that make it all work. The level of consistence is extremely high with neither filler or a plain old duffer amongst the 14 tracks. The very first song is aptly titled as you're 'Blown Away' with a great, groove-lead, guitar and chorus - and within that first minute of music, you'll realise that this could be good........... so to follow it up with the excellent foot stomper 'Jet Black Leather & Lace' is a pure delight. 'Little Too Late' gives us a ballad of Z'Nuff/Oasis tempo and stylings (I'm guessing the Beatles have to be mentioned in that case). 'Not Here Tonight' is especially Enuff Z'Nuff - the song setting of depression, relationships, love and loss is probably the key.
'Quicky Licky Nicky' gets us right back up into the coolness, groove-fed rock that Circus Life are grabbing me with and it's another slice of way above average rock with vocalist Tommy Zamp flexing his guitar muscles all over it. Steve Kutch and Rev Swank backing him up also deserve a mention as they are equally impressive throughout this powerful disc adding many glorious touches to a canvas of musical joy that is sprayed all over 'Little Secrets'.
When the band get a lower, dirtier vibe on with songs like 'Dose' then Sixx's Brides get a nod and let's remember that when they were good, they were very good and this song is no exception. 'Loud Talk' is another with the start especially sounding like BOD track '2X Dead' - again, that's bloody good to these ears.
The curve-ball that works (yes, without a doubt it works) is the cover of Paula Abdul's 'Straight Up' - impressive to come out of that alive and kicking and not even denting their solid, shining appeal has to admired, surely? You'll never have known you liked it so much.
Each song on here deserves a mention but I simply urge you to listen to it all and if you like great quality song writing from the likes of Donnie Vie then this will simply be a delight.
Power Play Rock and Metal Magazine – UK
Genre: Hard Rock
If they were trying to fashion some sort of hammock between 80s classic rock and 90s US college rock, NYC trio Circus Life have done reasonably well. Amid the usual scenario of a slew of ex-members of this or that band chasing on ‘mainstream rock ‘n’ roll dream’ in this current incarnation, the gents’ here fostered a steady fusion between Feeder, Velvet Revolver, Stereophonics, Ash, Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Rockier moments are most definitely where the group should be hitting the accelerator: opener “Blown Away”,radio success story “Jet Black Leather & Lace” and the storming title track are infectious pots of groove that convincingly reinsert anthemic hard rock into the arms of commercial appreciation. But mellower incidents such as “Hard to Breathe” and “I’m Leaving” are sadly just an insufferably dated drag. And guess what? There’s also a chunky cover of “Straight Up”, a number by none other than American Idol’s Paula Abdul, to contend with. It’s a peculiar curveball to throw and one that sort of works, but it does raise the question as to whether this regression to the sounds of two and a half decades ago is really the best way for Circus Life to fulfill their wish of preventing rock ‘n’ roll from becoming ‘an artifact’. Nevertheless, “Little Secrets” largely goes after the model of ‘axes and attitude’ in its heyday, with a pinch of Big Apple high-school glamour. Does it work? Mostly, but there’s still room for honing and interestingness in their leather-clad, sunglasses-donning machine. 7 out of 10 Stars
Gramercy Theatre NYC
“The show started with the band Circus Life. Dressed in their slick fedoras, ties, and 1920s-esque bartending clothing, they started the night off in the right way: rocking your nuts/ovaries off. They brought intensity, flair, and a lot of fun. The three piece band are all fantastic musicians who connect well with the crowd. A highlight of their set was their rockin’ cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up Now Tell Me”, which brought back memories of neon and L.A. Gear sneakers. They ended their set and left the crowd wanting more.”?- Thor Vanderbill, Gotham Rocks Presents
“The trio can be best described as a well-oiled machine who relies on nothing more than simplicity to deliver a kick-ass rock show. They were tight musically and really poured their hearts out on every note they played. Their stage presence supported this and musically they sounded phenomenal. The lead guitar work was particularly great, blending elements of flash and soul in a sonic frenzy that made one proud to be a rock fan. A tip of the hat goes out to Circus Life for delivering the essence of rock & roll on a silver platter.”?- Thor Vanderbill, Gotham Rocks Presents