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The Pink Mice

Symphonic Prog

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The Pink Mice In Action album cover
3.71 | 23 ratings | 4 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Italienisches Konzert in F (4:34)
a. Italienisches Konzert In F-Dur, 1. Satz
b. Air Aus Der Suite Nr. 3 In D-Dur
c. Italienisches Konzert In F-Dur, 3. Satz
2. "Für Elise", Bagatelle A-Moll / Sonate Für Klavier Nr. 14 Cis-Moll (Mondschein) (9:32)
3. Konzert Für Trompete Und Orchester Es-Dur (4:17)

Side 2
1. Anitras Tanz (from Peer Gynt) (5:23)
2. Sonate Für Klavier Nr. 8 C-Moll (Pathètique), Satz 1-4 (6:45)
3. Brandenburgisches Konzert, 1. Und 3. Satz (5:57)

Total Time: 36:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hecht / keyboards
- Peter Hesslein / guitar, vocals
- Dieter Horns / bass, vocals
- Joachim Rietenbach / drums

Releases information

LP Europa E456 (1971, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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THE PINK MICE In Action ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE PINK MICE In Action reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Outstanding symphonic prog band coming from Germany badly influenced by classical music,I think even more than EMERSON,LAKE & PALMER...Actually this can be named as a side project of the heavy progressive act LUCIFER'S FRIEND without their singer...Seems like the members of this act had a dream of creating a classical music inspired album...

And the result is of extremely high quality...Even you're not familiar with classical music,you will be able to recognize in this effort popular classical music pieces of Bach or Beethoven transformed by THE PINK MICE into symphonic rock anthems in a unique way!...The musicianship is just excellent and for the most port of the album you will listen to beautiful piano and great synths meeting the guitar-,drum- and bass lines sounding like the rock way the giant composers of the past would have created their symphonies if they were able to have a rock instrumentation in their hands...Apart of this the thing doesn't stop here...Here and there you will manage to recognize some fusion/jazzy musicianship under the symphonic anthems...The LUCIFER'S FRIEND influece is also evident in some really complex heavy prog moments...All this package in one album that sounds just great...

I will dare to compare this band with ELP or even better with early BEGGAR'S OPERA in terms of style and equal musicianship despite not being all that famous in prog rock circles...Symphonic maniacs,this was made for you!For all the others,you need to give this album a try,it worths it!...Rating?...Well,this album deserves 3.5 stars the least...But considering its year and country of release (1971,so early and Germany is mostly known for its jazz- and kraut rock bands) I'll rate this one with 4 stars at least without hesitation!

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The 60s was a very strange time indeed. It saw rock music splintering off into a gazillion different directions seemingly overnight. While the prog section at the supermarket was a new product on the shelf, it too was finding incredible diversity in an extremely short time. Some bands picked a way and others couldn't really make up their minds, so they delved into different aspects of the new world rock paradigm. Germany was at the forefront of progressive rock with bands like Amon Duul II and Can leading the way in a new extreme form of crazy psychedelia called Krautrock but some artists didn't exactly go in that direction.

Hamburg was the scene of a new German rock scene and in 1970 found singer John Lawton, bassist Dieter Horns, keyboardist Peter Hecht and drummer Joachim Reitenbach joined forces to create Lucifer's Friend, a band that was one of the forerunners of modern day metal music and although not quite as a household name like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple is still very much known to have been one of the true innovators of the metal universe with their landmark debut album that was released the same year as the debut by Sabbath and "In Rock" by Deep Purple.

While Lucifer's Friend may be known in the prog world for their unique spin on prog rock with accentuated heaviness, they are much lesser known for the side project called THE PINK MICE which emerged in 1971. This project consisted of all the original members of Lucifer's Friend with the exception of the only non-German member singer John Lawton. THE PINK MICE were about as different of a project as you can get. Whereas Lucifer's Friend was about bombast and early metal meets jazz fusion, THE PINK MICE were a classically driven rock band all the way. In fact, all the tracks on the band's only two albums are all rock versions of traditional classical music which covers many of past masters. They also were all instrumental.

The debut album IN ACTION pretty much follows in the footsteps of some of the earliest symphonic prog pioneers such as The Nice, Emerson Lake and Palmer and German's answer to the latter in the form of Triumvirat. While it may seem like a ridiculously overplayed card by today's standards, especially since the dawning of Yngwie Malmsteen virtuoso guitar covering every neoclassical angle possible, back in the day, especially in 1971 when THE PINK MICE debuted, the whole classical music played in a rock context was still a novelty and while i find many of those original bands such as The Nice and even ELP, the most popular of the lot to have hit a few stale notes in their out-of-balance deliveries (the keys ALWAYS outshined the rest of the band), THE PINK MICE were the real deal and offered a rather interesting balanced take on the whole classical classics in a rock context.

On IN ACTION, six tracks cover Bach, Beethoven, Haydn and Grieg (the first two getting two tracks each.) Yes, it does seem like a period piece that doesn't necessarily hold up in the modern world but that means that it didn't need to be done again, not heard again. Hearing this as a period piece is actually quite exhilarating. Think Walter (Wendy) Carolos' "Hooked On Bach" only with ALL the rock instruments involved. The classical music is played authentically and not mangled in any way while the virtuosic keyboards lead the guitar, bass and drums on an interesting journey. While music like this usually sounds cheesy, i personally find that THE PINK MICE were the real deal and allow the rock to infiltrate the classical without sounding overly artificial.

THE PINK MICE would release one more album but folded rather quickly due to a lack of demand in this sort of shtick. Prog rock was much more interesting when classical was an influence and not the main presence. Bands like Yes proved that classical could provide an essential element without dominating the scene, therefore THE PINK MICE would continue on as Lucifer's Friend in the hard rock world where things were more financially lucrative. While this sort of classical music in a rock context isn't my favorite sort of music, i have to admit that this album is carried out quite pleasantly and allows all the elements to properly gel into a more cohesive listening experience than say The Nice who sounded like a typical rock band with a keyboard wizard blowing everyone else away.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I am not sure how to describe the concept of creativity. But I am pretty sure this band's outputs is not creativity. I would rather use some other words. Take some classic music, remove the original instruments and rape the originals with tonnes of keyboards. Add some guitars, bass and drums ... (read more)

Report this review (#229236) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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