Review Summary: Odd bedfellows make an unlikely but interesting musical pairing...
Andy Summers needs no introduction, really. He made his bones in The Police, and as a solo artist. His newest project, Circa Zero is actually a duo, with Rob Giles of pop group The Rescues. The pair reportedly met at a bar in Los Angeles one night and later began recording together. Circa Zero's debut album Circus Hero was released in March.
The sound of Circa Zero is really a combination of Summers' and Giles' respective styles, with a classic rock edge. The choruses are the focal point of many song here, not the least of which in the energetic opener "Levitation". Giles' vocals carry the track into a bombastic rockin' chorus and beyond. Several tracks on Circus Hero bear a strong sonic resemblance to the Foo Fighters, notable examples being "Underground" and "Shoot Out The Stars". The chorus in "Shoot Out The Stars" is so Foo Fighters-y that it hurts, in a good way of course. On other tracks, Giles (who recorded the bass & drums for the project) and Summers stretch their legs past the six-minute mark ("Gamma Ray", "Night Time Travelers", "Whenever You Hear The Rain"). "Whenever You Hear The Rain" is a great ballad that would've slotted perfectly amongst a Police setlist.
Summers contributes a lot of good riffing and soloing to Circus Hero. Giles is the star of this record with his vocals, though. He does sound a tinny bit like Sting in some instances, but for the most part he sounds like his own man. He has a damn good range, and floats between it perfectly.
Overall, Circus Hero is a fun, enjoyable pop-rock album that has a lot of strong hooks and good songs. Although a few tracks (the trio of six-minute tracks come to mind) run a little bit too long, most of the music is very concise. Although Giles and Summers are very odd bedfellows on the surface, they seem to enjoy playing together, and the result is entertaining. There is a chemistry that runs through Circus Hero that binds the whole thing together.