Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice – Potatoes On Mars

 Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice – Potatoes On Mars

Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice – Potatoes On Mars – Album Review

I’ll tell ya this much for certain…I was pretty sure going into this experience I’d be hearing one of the more different records I’d be listening to this year, based on the quirky couple singles that I’d reviewed from Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice in 2021, called “Pale Blue Dot” and “Road To Universe.”  Both highly interesting & non-typical tunes without question…the kind of songs that inform your ears that they’re not likely to hear anything much that you feel like you’ve heard before when you push play on an album like Potatoes On Mars.  Both the tracks I’ve mentioned are on this new 2022 album by Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice, and they’ve got another nine to go with’em – let’s check this record out!

The reality is, uniqueness hits in tremendously different ways than so many other elements of music do, and the opening track, “Keep On Searching” immediately gives you an example of what I mean.  There’s no doubt that Andrea’s got a vocal sound of his own that’s wildly identifiable in comparison to so much of what you’d hear out there in the scene, and how vastly different he truly is, is bound to be as polarizing to some as pleasing to others.  What I love about it all, is that like, right from the get-go, he unleashes a couple of jaw-dropping moments right off the bat when it comes to the demands on his voice, and completely rises to the occasion.  It might not sound like what you typically find from the microphone in most music, but there’s no question – he’s hitting the mark with the tone & strength he’s looking to sing with…and if I’m being real with ya, he’s reaching some intense demands on his vocals with impressive results.  For real – try and sing along with him…I bet ya can’t – and that right there should cue you into the fact that there’s a whole lotta skill involved with the way Pizzo sings.  As for the song itself, it was probably its looser second-half I felt most attached to by the end, where the whole band is simply feeling the groove and letting the moment take over; before that, I still dig the song & especially the way it opens up with such a mysterious & curious vibe – it’s an enticing beginning for sure.  When “Keep On Searching” slid into its first verse, I felt like they started to adopt a bit more of a rigid relationship between the vocals & music kind of going for the same thing pattern-wise, but just about everything outside of that was fully loaded with unpredictable entertainment & an energetic spark.  Bonus points for the shreddin’ guitar solo – the quality of their instrumentation is something we’d all universally agree on, and “Keep On Searching” should immediately prove they’ve got stand-out ideas.

Listen to the depth & sparkle in the guitars of “Song Of Nothing” will ya?  There’s a ton of emotional weight in the way this second song begins, and you can feel the seriousness creep into the record quickly as it carries on.  With a distant & drifting atmosphere that’s as gentle as it is bold, “Song Of Nothing” drifts through a delicate design with exquisite attention to detail in the production and their performance.  It’s intricate and really well thought-out stuff overall – Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice take on a large theme of what’s real…what’s permanent…what’s fragile…what’s endangered…and goes into a series of clever lyrical imagery that’s vivid.  Questioning their surroundings in an exploratory and expressive odyssey that smartly stays locked in on the moment, “Song Of Nothing” delivers a hollow melancholy that’s truly alive…the vibe might feel lost & cut adrift, floating through space & time, but if you’re listening real close, you’ll find that this track is impressively grounded with perspective.  “Song Of Nothing” is one of those tunes that really feels like it’s effortless to Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice, but the closer you listen, the more you realize just how seamless and flawless this track genuinely is; there’s not a thing outta place, and the focus they display as a band together is entirely impeccable.

With bass-lines kickin’ out the jams, crisp drums, and light-funk guitars goin’ on – “Among The Stars” is a cut that’s going to get people’s attention without question, and mainly for its energetic in-your-face vibe as opposed to the stellar musicianship most likely…but hopefully at least a bit of both!  Another clever combination that immediately sparks your interest as it begins, Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice continue to take you out into the stratosphere with this third cut on Potatoes On Mars, going from what I’d say is a fairly straight-ahead design, into the complexities of art in a way that’s probably going to be a bit much for the average everyday set of ears to follow along with if I’m being real with ya.  The amount of distance that you’ll travel in this one experience is pretty phenomenal when it comes right down to it – where you start is definitely not where you’ll end up, giving “Among The Stars” a real part 1/part 2 type of feeling when you listen.  I’m about as confident as ever in that first half – I know what they’ve got goin’ on there essentially can’t help but stand out to the people as it should with such vibrant sound – and as they twist & morph this track into the future thematically around the 1:30 mark, there’s no doubt that they trade some of their accessibility & uplifting charm, and blast you off into the dark depths of space & artistic ideas.  Would it have been more effective as two completely different songs?  It’s possible.  Personally I appreciate just how unique this experience is as a whole, but I can definitely get that fans of one side of this tune’s vibe might struggle a bit more than the other, and vice versa.  Hopefully not…hopefully y’all feel the same way I do and find something well worth your while in both halves of this song’s personality…but I can definitely recognize how much they’re asking of the listeners out there in terms of what they’d expect from where “Among The Stars” begins, as opposed to where it ends up.  To me, I think there’s a lot of unpredictable surprise to be found inside that first main switch in their direction of sound here, and the impact makes a great impression…it’s a different kind of memorable, you know what I mean?  Not so much for the hooks maybe, but more-so for the ambition.

When was the last time you heard a folk-style indie-rock song about growing “Potatoes On Mars?”  It’s probably been at least a couple days right?  C’mon now y’all – that’s not a theme you hear written about very often, if ever at all!  It speaks volumes on behalf of the amount of imagination you’ll find in a band like this, and certainly of a record like this as well.  I think the majority of people are gonna genuinely love this tune if I’m being honest with ya…there’s a real endearing charm you can hear in the way they play this song together, and it gives everything a natural sweetness that has no problem pulling us all in.  They’re right on the edge of a Country-twang here with the bending & sliding of their guitar tones and bouncy one-note bass-lines as “Potatoes On Mars” – but that’s just in terms of the sound itself at first – when it comes to the design of the song, it’s a much more artistic & colorful Indie Pop/Rock style of a vibe goin’ on, that keeps the focus sharp on the melody & message combined.  I’d still be the last to say it’s anything truly typical…there’s an acquired-taste element in listening to Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice, and I get that – but correct me if I’m wrong…ain’t there something authentically charming about the way they play a song like their title-track?  The warm glow of the organ in the background, the friendly & welcoming vibe, the amount of uniqueness that Andrea puts into his words & vocals…the clever way they’ve got the backing vocals supporting the lead…I dunno…everything seems to really stack up in an engaging way that’s totally different to most of us listening, but all comes inherently to them.

I feel like, the more they embrace their uniqueness, the better the results become.  Probably no better example of that theory in action than their most ambitious cut on the record, the nearly ten-minute long song called “Jupiter And The Galilean Moons” – Andrea is straight-up off-the-charts impressive here in the ways he chooses to sing this one.  For those out there that do ‘get it’ and connect to the way he sings & sounds, believe me, he’s gonna completely blow your mind with some of his biggest notes and how he rises to the challenge of such intense demands on his skillset & creativity with such artistic integrity & surgical precision – but credit where credit is due, this whole band is on another level when it comes to this epic cut.  Once again, there’s no doubt that making a move like this tends to trade some of their accessibility for artistic design, but I am 100% confident that those out there seeking out MORE in the music they listen to, will be absolutely amazed by what they find here.  From its spacious vibes to its warm orchestral glow at the end, there’s a whole lotta composition, thought, effort, and talent combined to create a song like “Jupiter And The Galilean Moons,” and a whole lotta focus & skill required to pull it off RIGHT.  Each and every member of this band should be extraordinarily proud of what they’ve accomplished on this remarkable song…”Jupiter And The Galilean Moons” is an undeniable EXPERIENCE that will make you feel like you’ve long left the planet you know for distant new worlds and the future unknown.  For a nearly ten-minute long tune, they’ve laid this out BRILLIANTLY…not only does it feel incredibly cohesive, even with all the many changes it makes from start to finish, but there’s just not a remote chance of anyone feeling bored at any point along the way.  Those first vocal moments make a massive impact with the melody & the piano…and I love how Andrea thrills our ears with his singing on this track – he doesn’t use a single word, and he proves he doesn’t need any at all.  This is living & breathing art at work right here on “Jupiter And The Galilean Moons” – this is 100% magnificent.  I truly can’t say enough about this…it’s so rare to find a song at this length that I’d be THIS excited about – but this is as great of an example of how much the artistic uniqueness of Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice can make a major impression on the people out there as any cut could ever be; I totally LOVE  this!

With the kind of exploratory odysseys they tend to write about with their space-based/future-themes, it’s actually quite perfect that you get a lot of Psychedelic & Progressive influence on the overall sound of Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice, which you’ll find quite a bit of throughout the design of “Go Fishing In The Ocean Of Enceladus.”  While I don’t know it for a fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that this particular cut actually features at least two singers, and quite likely a third in the mix as well for a spectacular & awe-inspiring, opera-esque highlight right before the very end for the finale.  In any event, while I might not be completely sure about who all is involved here when it comes to what’s happening on the microphone, I can tell ya that they’ve created a combination that has a whole lot of appeal to it.  I felt like this would be one of the tougher spots on the record to fill in coming after “Jupiter And The Galilean Moons” sounding so impressive to me right beforehand, but I felt like the many melodic twists and cleverness of “Go Fishing In The Ocean Of Enceladus” managed to make much more of an impression on me than I thought any cut might have in this part of the set-list for sure.  I do think that for the majority of the people out there, “Go Fishing In The Ocean Of Enceladus” could be a bit of a tall ask for how transformative it is along the way and how anti-typical the hooks & design of this song truly are…but I can’t help but believe in their uniqueness being the asset it should really be.  I felt like “Go Fishing In The Ocean Of Enceladus” started out extremely strong to begin with, but I ain’t gonna lie to ya – by the time it was over, I practically felt like I should stand up ovation and salute this effort.

“Pale Blue Dot” was one of the lead-singles I heard in advance of the full record, and you can read my full thoughts in review by clicking right here.  Rest assured, it’s a good fit into this full lineup, both for the theme and for the sound…and for as different as it is, believe me when I tell ya, you’ll remember this tune and the main hooks of its melody.  While it was only technically a couple of months ago that I heard this song for the first time, I can vouch firsthand for the fact that I’ve never forgotten it, and quite often get up in the morning singing the main chorus to “Pale Blue Dot.”  Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice laid down a really smart tune with this track…it reminds us of our insignificance on a cosmic level, but still highlights what makes our existence crucial as well.  It’s a highly innovative & artistic tune from beginning to end, and was a really good choice to have put out there in advance of Potatoes On Mars.

At a tiny 2:30, “Goldilocks Zone” is the shortest track on the record, but also reveals another remarkable melody that’ll definitely catch your attention.  While there’s no doubt I’d stand by my comments on Andrea’s tone & style being somewhat of an acquired taste, or at least challenging to the masses in terms of what they’d typically expect to hear in a singer – I fully maintain that this dude’s got something special the rest don’t, and the kind of uniqueness that leads to serious longevity in a fan-base.  You listen to a track like “Goldilocks Zone” and you realize that, even on the inside of the shortest timeframe, you’re always going to hear something different than you ever have before when it comes to the music being made by Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice.  The value in that…is priceless folks.  The reality might be that it takes longer for a sound like theirs to catch on with the people out there, but that’s just the way artistic music tends to trend with the masses…at least at first.  If you have the courage and conviction to stick with the vision you have, you end up with serious longevity and a devoted fan-base that’ll never leave you, no matter which direction you morph your music into next.  Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice have put such diversity and versatility into every moment of Potatoes On Mars that you can’t help but admire the ambition and marvel at the results – a track like “Goldilocks Zone” is no less fascinating in that sense than any other on the record, despite its short length.  It’s yet another different aspect of their sound and a very low-key vibe overall, but incredibly effective, stunningly beautiful at points, and entirely clever in its design once again – they know how to use every second to their advantage & have such a brilliant understanding of what makes a moment in time stand out to our ears.

“Masters Of The Galaxy” they most assuredly ARE!  Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice have been straight-up outta this world throughout this entire album, wouldn’t you say?  This was probably the closest to as on the fence about a song’s inclusion as I was about any track on this record, and I still think this is a completely rad cut.  There’s no doubt it’s got a bit more of a Rock-inclined edge to it, complete with some absolutely fantastic guitar in the mix for ya once again as well…but it still fits cohesively enough with this set-list to make enough sense to my ears.  It was CLOSE…but I felt like they convinced me.  Ultimately, while we could look at things like this from track-to-track as it plays and feel one way or the other, in the context of the entire ambition and scope of the full record, it completely makes sense to have a track like “Masters Of The Galaxy” have the sound & energy that it comes with.  Think of it like this – Potatoes On Mars is essentially one of two things, and maybe both – it’s either a modern Rock-Opera of sorts, or a concept record…it just makes sense to find the shifting dynamics we hear playing such a role as the album plays on.  That being said, it should entice a whole bunch of ya out there into listening…if you wanna hear a set-list full of songs that contain a tremendous amount of effort, skill, and thought being put into them from start to finish, you’d be doing your ears a favor by listening to Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice.  “Masters Of The Galaxy” is meant to be fantastical, energetic, and fun – and that’s exactly what you’ll find – they’re an impressively focused band, playing their songs with purpose.

“Road To Universe” was actually the first track I heard from Andrea And The Purple Mice last year when I reviewed it back in May of 2021 – and I still dig this tune as well.  Great hooks in the chorus of this cut, and I can still appreciate just how much of an impact the audible difference in this band created on that initial experience with their music…I might even go as far as to say it’s still one of my favorite tracks, or at the very least, still contains some of the most significant highlights you’ll hear in their musicianship & vocals.  There’s a moment in “Road To Universe” where Andrea will just completely BLOW YOUR MIND with the way he hits this one spot in the hooks…to say that the demands on his voice are intense would be a massive understatement – and to hear him conquer it time & time again on repeat as I’ve been listening over this past week or so, spinning my way through this album, has been nothing but a pure joy to experience once more.  Read my previous thoughts on “Road To Universe” by clicking right here!

While I’m always going to be the guy that advocates for artistically innovative & inventive tunes like what we heard on “Jupiter And The Galilean Moons” in the middle of Potatoes On Mars, they collectively prove on their final cut “Starship To Heaven” that if they want to add that extra degree of accessibility in their music, they’re more than capable.  Chances are, for a lot of people out there, there could be a very good chance that Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice will end this album with your favorite tune of them all, and I can’t say I’d blame ya.  Melodically & structurally, they stick a bit closer to the script of what you know in music in this final song, but it’s no less impressive than hearing them knock one of their more artistic cuts straight outta the park like they have been.  I feel like the uniqueness of Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice can’t help but reveal itself, even in a more universally accessible vibe like they’ve got goin’ on with “Starship To Heaven” at the end.  The music is vibrant, the performance is as gripping, focused, and perfect in its energy as the band has been throughout the entire lineup…the attention to detail has been absolutely staggering throughout this whole album, and they should be incredibly proud of that.  From the production to their performances, individually and collectively as a band united, they’ve put a superhuman amount of passion, heart, and imagination into every moment of Potatoes On Mars – this band, and their new record, get a huge thumbs-up from me.

Find out more about Andrea Pizzo And The Purple Mice at their official website here:

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