EP REVIEW: Mickey Callisto - Homospace
A star-making debut from the Liverpudlian pop singer
When I was first introduced to Liverpudlian pop sensation Mickey Callisto at Dot-to-Dot Festival earlier this year, it was obvious from the get-go he was a natural-born showman destined for big things. An enigmatic, commanding presence on stage, it was an utterly captivating performance that made for one of the highlights of the day and left me eager to see where his career would go next.
Now this Friday sees Mickey releases his first EP titled Homospace and I’m pleased to say it’s a star-making debut - in more ways than one.
Loosely inspired by Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Mickey’s debut EP sees him transport the listener into outer space for a visit to “a gay nightclub on the moon”. The sounds that welcome you upon entry are a mesmerising blend of disco, psych-rock and 80s-inspired synth-pop, with Mickey lyrically jumping between personal stories and cosmic metaphors. The result is a joyful, imaginative orbit around some ambitious planetary pop.
'Destructive Love' is the track to give us lift-off, with Mickey immediately wearing his influences on his spacesuit sleeve, as he does throughout the short-player. As the celestial synths swirl and Mickey describes finding the courage to leave behind a destructive relationship, he channels Rocketman himself, Elton John, on this timeless-sounding opener.
'A natural-born showman destined for great things' - Mickey Callisto (Photo credit: Luke Bryant)
Next Mickey brings us briefly back down to Earth for 'This Is The Real World' - a song which takes sharp aim at those who are unappreciative of their own privilege. Crashing in with a seismic buzz of synths and guitars, it’s briefly reminiscent of Muse before Mickey’s vocals bring in strong shades of the late, great Freddie Mercury. Sonically it’s another interstellar trip, as the whirring synths throw you into all sorts of fascinating dimensions.
We remain grounded (at least lyrically) for 'Bring Me Down To Earth' - a song about staying humble that is audibly lit-up with the sounds of sumptuous city-pop. 'Upside Down' is then a short Stranger Things-inspired piano ballad, before title track 'Homospace' delivers the EP’s epic galactic centrepiece. Drawing comparisons to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s iconic classic 'Relax', it’s a euphoric, mind-melting pop anthem, with the Homospace club representing a cosmic utopia where humans can find complete freedom and unity. Incredibly infectious and just a tonne of fun, it is the track that really showcases Mickey’s superstar potential.
Before you know it, the brief voyage through the cosmos reaches its end with 'Lost In Space', where Mickey contemplates the expansiveness of the universe and how easy it is to lose yourself in this increasingly mad world. It’s a suitably starry-eyed finale, that gentle sways along one minute then takes flight the next, thanks to some skyrocketing, Queen-esque guitar work. As Mickey sings “Take me all the way back home to the ones that I love”, he leaves the listener with a transcendent saxophone solo that will no doubt leave a positive lasting impression.
Overall, this is a fantastic, high-concept debut EP from Mickey; one that is not just a lot of fun to experience, but also offers the perfect introduction and showcase for his talent. Offering a welcome escape into some vivid musical nebulas, once you’ve taken the trip to the outer limits, you’ll be reluctant to return back down to Earth.
Homospace is out on Friday (17 November)