DEEP PURPLE Whoosh! gets 7.5/10

Deep Purple



Deep Purple need no introduction, as rock royalty and the highest-profile pioneers of ‘heavy’ music alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This is their 21st album and features three members from the classic ‘Mk II’ line up in frontman Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice (an original member). They’re joined by guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey, both longtime members of the band and rock mainstays since the 1970s. With the average age of the band edging above 70, these are rock veterans indeed. Yet they still have an edge, producing the best Deep Purple album in years.

Throw My Bones is a great opening number and should go down as a modern Deep Purple classic. With its funky riff, grandiose keyboard sound and memorable chorus, it’s makes an instant impression. The lyrics are telling: “Why should I walk into the great unknown/ When I can sit here and throw my bones.” Throughout the album the band embraces their age as elder spokesmen of rock. It’s with this laid-back confidence that they’re able to churn out an array of surprisingly consistent hard rock numbers. Closer Dancing in My Sleep is the other ‘funky’ cut on here, opening with the sound of a sequencer. It’s very cheesy and the closest to a ‘dance’ cut on the whole album, but keyboardist Don Airey’s organ stabs and the foreboding strings give it an air of majesty that elevates it.

Airey is on point throughout the album and gives a lot of these tracks an epic flair. On album highlight Nothing At All, he throws out some adroit keyboard riffs and engages in some classic Purple-esque interplay with guitarist Steve Morse.

Frontman Ian Gillan is no longer able to hit those high notes, his delivery pared back and slowed down. The songwriting has adjusted to accommodate, favouring deliberately paced atmosphere over the kind of speedy raw energy that made early Purple cuts like Speed King so powerful. Thankfully the songwriting is consistently strong and the other band members are all on point throughout. Step by Step, for instance, is an atmospheric progressive rock number. The Power of the Moon features echoey vocals from Gillan as well as some epic solos from Airey and Morse. And Man Alive is very effective with its double-stopped guitar riff build-up, before exploding into its chorus and then retreating back. It’s a great exercise in dynamics.

Given the band’s age and straight-ahead material, the album is bound to have some sore spots. They mainly come courtesy of Gillian’s lyrics and delivery, which can be horribly cheesy without the right backing. The straightforward boogie of What the What is interminable, and the political statement songs Drop Your Weapon and No Need to Shout are flat footed and incredibly silly. That being said, these are blemishes rather than big complaints. This is a great hard rock album, immensely unfashionable but also immensely fun.


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