Review: Bunny by Halo Circus

Bunny by Halo CircusAn oddity of American Idol is how it expects its contestants to come on stage fully formed, while also acknowledging that most of the aspirants are young kids still feeling their way through things. Some contestants try to toe that balance, think they get it, and then realize something else further down the line. It happened with Haley Reinhart, whose Better utilized her better than her big label release Listen Up!, and it’s happening to Allison Iraheta, too. (Sure, I know, I cited two of my favorites from the show, but stick with me on this one.) Her post-Idol outing, Just Like You, was typical pop-rock that utilized her surprisingly boozy voice well – but, well, Kelly Clarkson-like pop rock with a bit more edge? Really? Now, as frontwoman of Halo Circus, she finds that sweet spot. Singing in both English and Spanish, she and her shrewd band manages to play to each other’s strengths. The result is a record that’s evocative, both boozy of the speakeasy kind and sparkling of the, well, modern bar kind. Allison has found her voice – and we’re all the better for it. [NB]4/5

“It was you who was wrong.”

“Gone” by Allison Iraheta and Halo Circus | Well, I waited a long time for this, and finally, Halo Circus – that new band featuring my first favorite American Idol contestant, Allison Iraheta – has released their new single. “Gone” is sludgy and glam, and, of course, powered by Allison’s mature voice, although now she’s in her 20s and she’s settled into it nicely. The single, alongside Spanish track “Yo Me Voy” and acoustic versions of each are now on iTunes, and now’s the best time for me to renew the call: release a new EP, release a new EP, release a full-length, even… [NB]

“I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood…”

“Someone To Watch Over Me” by Allison Iraheta | I remember watching Allison perform (and meeting her!) three years ago and, amidst the fangirling, knowing that she really loves what she’s doing. So, understandably, being dropped after Just Like You ran its course was a blow for her. And I’m all for her getting all the happiness she can get, more so now that her band Halo Circus is getting some traction, and we wait for studio versions to post – which explains why I’m posting another one of her (admittedly applicable) American Idol performances – but still, news of her getting married, to bandmate Matthew Hagar, is a bit of a surprise. Last January! At 21! Which, I know, isn’t anything shocking in the United States; I live, after all, in a pretty conservative part of the world. While I pick up my jaw again, yes, I’m happy for her. And I will continue hope of hearing those studio versions.

“You can’t let it go. You can’t take you away from me.”

“You Can’t Take You Away From Me” by Halo Circus | And I’m posting this because this is new material from the first American Idol contestant I really followed, Allison Iraheta. And her new band, yes: Halo Circus had their live debut a week ago, and this is one of the new things they debut. And… I don’t know what to think, to be honest. I must blame the video quality. I must blame the video quality…

“The road’ll even end in Kathmandu.”

“Cry Baby” by Allison Iraheta | This was two years ago, when she visited Manila. Find me. Find the moment when I reached out my hand and she touched it. Or at least try to find that moment. If it helps, I’m the guy with the glasses, seated on the floor in the front, wearing a dark blue top and holding a camera. (I wrote five entries about that day on my other blog: click here, here, here, here and here, in chronological order.)