Review | Robert Hart – Circus Life

Escape Music

With the album ‘Pure’ (released in March 2020) UK-singer Robert Hart laid down a fine musical performance. Produced and written by Tommy Denander and Steve Overland, Hart was the vocal centre of a record that brought us some of the finest AOR and West Coast rock. The only thing that the album lacked was one or two more heavy rockers as Robert Hart is an all-round singer. Something he proved throughout his career with bands like The Distance, Bad Company, The Jones Gang and on his two solo-albums ‘Cries & Whispers’ and ‘Robert Hart’. For the last decade or so he has been the singer for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. He also regularly tours Europe fronting several different project and bands. I believe last year he did an acoustic tour in The Netherlands.


Although the new album ‘Circus Life’ was recorded in January 2023 and scheduled for release in September 2023, it was pushed back to January of this year. It is here now and worth the wait, let me tell you. Is this album continuing the musical path and style displayed on ‘Pure’? Yes and no.


Yes, because the style is super melodic and flirts with AOR every now and then. No, because producer Steve Overland and his mate Steve Morris who helped out on guitar and song writing, have this time found the right balance to really make Robert Hart use the complete depth of his voice. The whole album is (with the exception of a few tracks) much heavier, much more heavy and hard rock orientated and it brings out the huge strength of Robert Hart. At times he sounds a bit ‘rougher’ which adds to the variety that is spread over and characteristic for this album.


A lot of the credit that this album rocks like hell must be given to the ultimate driving force of drummer Harry James and bass player Chris Childs. With Thunder still on hiatus the musicians of the band have the chance to do something else. The best rhythm section that the UK has to offer at this moment just drives ‘Circus Life’ to a certain height and energy level. Add to that a whole army of guitarists that play a hefty part such as Robert Sall, Keith Atack and Steve Morris, and it shall come as no surprise that the twelve tracks on this record have groove, panache, and some incredible solos. Steve Overland has done a great job as producer and his recognisable background vocals add an extra flavour.


By combining AOR, a portion of bluesy rock and lots of melodic heavy rock ‘Circus Life’ is a must have album for people who like bands like FM, Bad Company, The Distance, Snakecharmer etcetera. It feels good, it sounds superb, the performances are finger licking good, the songs are up to scratch and the vocals are top notch. What more do you want?

Release date: 26 January 2024



Logged in as