Starship to Heaven/Masters of The Galaxy – Andrea Pizzo and the Purple Mice (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I’m always advocating that even the most throwaway pop song should have something to say. I mean, if you are lucky enough to have been given a platform from which to make a musical statement, then why not give the listening masses something to think about? And so I have to give full marks to the splendidly named Andrea Pizzo and The Purple Mice and their brace of cosmological inspired masterworks.

Starship to Heaven is the more immediately accessible of the two songs, almost pop in its sensibilities but bolstered with raw rock guitar riffs and cascades of shimmering keyboards. But it is the lyrics that are the real talking point, telling of a hypothetical chess game between man and God as a metaphysical point of either perfect harmony or total oblivion rapidly approaches. Not exactly your usual pop fare and all the better for it.

This comes with Masters of The Galaxy as its sonic travelling companion, a song equally thought-provoking in its own way, discussing the merits of The Fermi Paradox which proposes that if the universe is never ending in both terms of distance and time, if it is teeming with alien life forms, as an infinite universe by its very nature must be, then why don’t have any solid, scientific proof for their existence?

And whilst you juggling with such astro-philosophies, the song fires off some more robust sonic salvos, running on solid rock grooves, energetic beats, chiming, otherworldly keyboards and pulsing basslines, getting close to the sort of territory that Rush used to call home. It is also a song that references all manner of popular culture to go along with its scientific starting point, from the mind-bending quantum sophistication that is Interstellar (a film which gives me a headache just thinking about it), the ever-popular Battlestar Galactica (I believe when the machines do rise, it will be self-service checkouts which lead the charge) and writers such as Stephen Baxter (which is timely as I have just finished reading the Long Earth series that he co-authored with the dear departed Mr Pratchett). It would appear that I am very much on this bands wave-length.

Andrea Pizzo and The Purple Mice find themselves somewhere between poised pop and progressive rock, they balance musical excess with wonderful accessibility, their music is ornate and thought-provoking yet full of groove and foot-on-the-monitor, stadium euphoria.

Normally when subjects such as aliens and the end of space and time, the nature of infinity and the possibility of the universe being shaped like a banana, comes up in music, it is in the form of stoner-rock hippies spouting conspiracy theories. And that is what makes these songs so refreshing, the fact that they are clearly the product of someone with a scientific mind, someone who understands that the realities of science, and especially astrophysics are far more amazing and beautiful, absorbing and mind-altering than any crackpot theory emanating from the foil-hat brigade.

And on top of that, these musings and thoughts, dreams and ideas come wrapped in the coolest music this side of DEN 1048 3956, (which is really nice this time of year, you should go, you’ll love it.)

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