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The Pink Mice -  In Action CD (album) cover

IN ACTION

The Pink Mice

 

Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 17 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars If the guys from Lucifer's Friend wouldn't told their singer John Lawton to take a vacation and form THE PINK MICE, we would had lost one of the few Symphonic bands that placed all their emphasis in Classical music, it's true that they don't have the most developed Prog style, but lets remember this guys were a Hard Rock band that made a Prog experiment in 1971, when the genre was on dippers, much more in their native Germany.

When a casual listener reads the song list of "In Action", really wonders what are this lunatics doing? All the tracks are written by famous Classical composers (Bach, Beethoven, Haydn and Grieg) and the question is more justified if you know their past as Hard Rock headbangers with leather clothes, but when you listen the good ensemble between this guys and Peter Hetch in the keyboards you can find an explanation, they are doing real Prog Rock.

So lets try to make a song revision:

The album starts with Bach's "Italienisches Konzert-Air", as we could expect, the organ takes the lead from the first instant with a clearly influenced by Keith Emerson style, sober and pompous, completely respectful, but after a couple minutes the guys go crazy and throw us all they have, guitars, drums, fast piano in an orgy of Rock and Jazz, crazy, frantic, almost desperate, but again they return to the sober organ to finish the song with an outstanding piano solo that proves Hetch's virtuosism.

Beethoven's "Fur Elise" is the next track, I was expecting something softer and romantic, but Peter Hetch starts with a very strong piano intro that leads to a vibrant but short instrumental section, and only now, the soft famous melody but hey..Isn't that a distorted guitar in the back? Yes it is, Peter Heisslen is having a bit of fun mixing the unmixable, but....Isn't that what Progressive Rock is about?

At this point the soft melody returns only to lead towards a frenetic ecstasies of Neo Classical Rock with some touches of Fusion. You can accuse THE PINK MICE of being rough, hard, maybe not as clean and aseptic as GENESIS or YES,. But his guys sure can rock.

Haydn's "Konzert Fur Trompete Und Orchester" gets it's turn on THE PINK MICE'S capable hands, again they start respectful but seems that as the songs advance, they get carried and start experimenting, but at the same time they get closer to their roots and start to Rock.

"Anitras Tranz" from Grieg's Peer Gynt is next, and Hetch uses all he has on the keys, perfectly supported by Heisslen in the guitar and Dieter Horns in the bass, again they get carried by the frenetic energy of Rock in a complex cacophony of sounds and styles all mixed together, outstanding piece.

Beethoven is visited once again with PINK MICE'S version of "Pathetique", this time they are much more respectful, even though the fusion of styles and genres is there, their approach is softer and more transparent, the piano flows from start to end and Joachim Rietenbach does an outstanding job keeping the tempo as a human metronome.

But the grand finale is magnificent; they enter completely in Jazz Fusion territory, with a class and style not common in Symphonic musicians.

The album is closed by Bach's Brandenburgisches Konzert (1. & 3.), a version heavily influenced by THE NICE (Not ELP because both bands are coetaneous), the clavichord performance is brilliant and creates a beautiful conflict with the aggressive Rock sections. Radical changes, great performances, odd timings, everything you need to create a Prog masterpiece is here; they just required to polish it a bit, but remember, this was recorded in 1971 by a Hard Rock band playing under an alias.

How to rate this album? Honestly I don't now, it's too rough, like an unpolished gem to give them five stars, but guys who have the courage and skills to re-create, not one or two but six Classical masterpieces, deserve no less than four stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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