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Halo Circus – Robots and Wranglers – Album Review

Robots and Wranglers is the latest release from Halo Circus. They’ve shed the alternative rock skin and emerged with a fresh synth-pop sound. Originally formed in 2012, Halo Circus is now a two-piece act, fronted by vocalist Allison Iraheta of American Idol fame and bassist, Matthew Hager.

The electronic tracks include many influences causing the album to share various feelings and musical textures. One should expect such a creative melting pot for an album with a polarizing title like Robots and Wranglers, and it does not disappoint. As you take the journey with Halo Circus, you will encounter many fresh synth-pop sounds used in unique ways and arrangements.

The lead single “Narcissist” is a straight pop-hop power-hitter that takes slight aim at politics and social media attention. With a hot sounding music track and lyrics that lightly protest, this will get some club crowd reactions. This song should also fit the current pop landscape well and hopefully allow follow-up songs to break through.

In a very different style than the lead single, “Got It Made” is the hottest track on this album. Matthew’s bass styling comes through well as he creates a suspenseful progression until the powerful vocals flow in over the top with the beat and synth simply crushing it! If “Narcissist” opens the door, “Got It Made” will blow the house down.
The trance-like tracks, “Contact” and “Off the World”, showcase the true tone and control of Allison’s voice; while the solo Spanish lyric song “Y Para Que?” features her most beautiful aspects. Allison’s vocals are not only fantastic throughout the album, but versatile in the various stylings.

With the current pop landscape filled with what seems to be the same sounds you’ve heard during the past decade, Robots and Wranglers breaks that mold by light years. A little experimentation paid off big with this fresh take on pop music. It has been a long time since something that feels so familiar has sounded so different.

Track List
Oh, Money!
Got It Made
Y Para Que?
Pledge of Allegiance
Off The World

Halo Circus:

Halo Circus are a highly acclaimed Los Angeles based electronic duo featuring star singer Allison Iraheta and producer Matthew Hager. Formerly a four piece rock band, Halo Circus have returned as a compelling synth-pop duo, with a sparkling new album Robots and Wranglers, mixed by Grammy Award winner Craig Bauer (Rihanna, Kanye West). The record is a concept album that sees the duo at the top of their game, seemingly right at home making a stylistic electronic record that feels like it was always there, right in the duo’s creative wheelhouse. Gone are the rock stylings of Bunny, replaced this time around with finely crafted synth-pop gems, clad with sometimes minimal, occasionally lush electronic arrangements. What remains in the fold is Iraheta’s recognizably dark vocals and introspective lyrical approach—hallmarks of the band and the kind of superstar traits that have won over fans nationwide. The album is already being hailed as “a cinematic, electronic work of fiction set in 2018.”

The recent flurry of attention surrounding Halo Circus has resulted in massive opportunities for the group. Allison Iraheta has lended her powerhouse vocals to various notable projects, including appearing on the recent NIN EP “Add Violence,” on the song “Less Than.” In addition, new FOX singing competition The Four—featuring Sean Combs, DJ Khaled, and Meghan Trainor—reached out to Allison to help work on the pilot, citing her as a trailblazing artist that is pushing the boundaries of music and the business of music. More recently, Allison performed at renowned industry giant Clive Davis’ Grammy party, in a duet with superstar Latin crossover artist Luis Fonsi on the track, “Echamela La Culpa.”

With the release of Robots and Wranglers arriving this Spring, Halo Circus’ future is lit with a newfound optimism. More at home as a duo than ever before, Iraheta and Hager have tapped into the reduced essence of their creativity and are ready for their formal arrival. Armed with a new album of inspiring electro-pop tracks, and one of the most supportive fanbases in the country, they will be hitting the road this March on a nationwide tour.

 Journalist: Allen Heimberger

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