Review: Universe No. 122 Beyond Mars

“I’ll take out a search party, way beyond Mars…” is a theme along with its poetry in the four minute and forty-two opening track, Universal Dreams, where the protagonist concludes “I won’t be coming back to earth.”

Paul LaPointe’s ambitious and creative project, Universe No. 122 – unleashed within the Beyond Mars album – is pure minamilist quasi-psychedelia engaging in stripped down pop constructs. Drone-rock about planets wrapped up in sci-fi cloaks a la Kenny Young’s long-lost Last Stage for Silverworld (Warner Bros. 1973) – and far more interesting than the eponymous Zager and Evans (1969, RCA) album follow-up to their cringe-worthy sci-fi pseudo classic (In the year) “2525” march on. Five minutes and thirty seconds comprise “Gravity” while “No Direction” is half the time and it is the imagery and ideas which are the complexities here over simple musical streams developed by the composer who plays all instruments on this outing. Fuzzy guitars on “Gilese 581c” and suspensions in between the assault beg for video representation, as do all these titles. Were each song placed within some visual imagery, a series of vignettes, the album could take on a double life separate from the audio.

“This was My Choice” has LaPointe sounding like Nico on extra downers (where he appears to be singing “I need you when you walk through the door…so very Nico!) like when she was at the Paradise theater solo with her harmonium, stopping the concert so that a tray of pills and water could be brought to her, the audience applauding as she consumed the substances…LaPointe’s piano and drawl reflect what Nico’s cult was seeking when she played sans band. The album concludes with “I am the Actor, I am the Astronaut” where the singer expresses : “My beating heart is a dying star, it will explode into a black hole With no regard for who you are I’ll pull you in if you get too close Ripped apart like a B-rate star, this void’s too big to be closed ”

Sci-Fi rock is an underutilized genre and Universe No.122 pick up the path once pioneered by Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett with his 1970 outings The Madcap Laughs and Barrett – both released in the U.S. as a double disc in 1974 simply entitled Syd Barrett

Check out the music of Universe No. 122 here:

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.