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Back in the late 1970s, other than Queen, the first band I really got into in a big way was The Police. Their first four albums - 'Outlandos d'Amour' (1978), 'Regatta de Blanc' (1979), 'Zenyatta Mondatta' (1980) and 'Ghost In The Machine' (1981) - were never off my stereo unless I was listening to Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon. I never got into 'Synchronicity' (1983) quite as much because, by then, I had discovered metal, but I'm proud to say I still have all the albums on vinyl and play them when I have the time. Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were huge influences on my early musical journey and, even though Sting's solo career continued to garner more commercial success, I always thought it was Andy and Stewart that were the driving force behind the band, and both of them tremendously underrated. Of course, The Police finally got back together for a massively successful tour in 2007/2008, but even though Summers (who, by the way, doesn't look anywhere near his age of 71) has released many solo albums over the years, in a variety of musical styles, what I really wanted to hear was him rock out in a band again and now I have the chance.

Circa Zero is that band and is a collaboration between Summers and multi-instrumentalist & vocalist Rob Giles (The Rescues), and it's a cracking album. Bearing in mind both men say they have started with a blank musical slate, Summers' playing and writing style is so instantly recognisable that it's difficult not to hear The Police in many of the new songs. But, of course, that's not a bad thing at all and in Giles he has found a kindred spirit and a fantastically gifted singer to propel these compositions even further forward.

Opener 'Levitation' is a great way to start, with a Police vibe and very catchy and melodic chorus reminiscent of several 70s & 80s arena bands such as Boston. It's a combination that works well and sets the scene for a further twelve songs. One thing is definite on this album and that is Andy Summers has lost none of his fantastic technical ability and feel. This is certainly not metal but, by the gods, does it rock, and in a style only he knows how to play! Another standout track is 'Shoot Out The Stars' where Giles' phrasing in the verse is very 'Sting' in delivery but, once again, the chorus is pure melodic rock. He also plays a mean bass and excellent drums on the album (although Frederik Bokkenheuser, a great Danish drummer, has just been signed up for the forthcoming gigs).

I'm absolutely over the moon that Summers is in a great sounding rock band again and really do hope we can see Circa Zero continue for years to come, and it's not just a one off, because these two work together like a dream. Welcome back Sir, it's been too long!
429 Records
Review by Rick Tilley
31st March 2014
1) Levitation; 2) Underground
3) The Story Ends Here
4) Say Goodnight; 5) Gamma Ray
6) Night Time Travellers
7) Shoot Out the Stars
8) Underwater
9) Summer Lies
10) No Highway
11) Light the Fuse & Run
12) Whenever You Hear the Rain
13) Hot Camel
"...Andy Summers has lost none of his fantastic technical ability and feel... by the gods, does it rock..."