By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks
The seasoned gentlemen in Deep Purple are still at it. Their new Bob Ezrin-produced album “Whoosh!” is a solid album of grown-up bluesy rock but with some nuanced twists and turns.
Deep Purple is back and about to release its 21st full-length studio album. “Whoosh!” is solid, bluesy grown-up rock performed by the elder statesmen of hard rock. Sure, the album doesn’t necessarily have an equivalent to “Child in Time”, “Highway Star” or “Burn”, but it is a great album from a seasoned band that has consistently delivered since 1968. From the band’s classic line-up, vocalist Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice are still in the band. What stands out for me on this Bob Ezrin-produced album, apart from Ian Gillan’s still great voice, is that guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey (who joined in 1994 and 2001 respectively) have managed to replace Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore. Well, obviously, they can’t be replaced, but Airey and Morse manage to fill the gaps and add their own ingredients to what Purple is today. They do it very, very well. Despite being the “new boys” in the band they are allowed to shine throughout the songs on this album.
The album builds on the band’s 20 earlier studio albums but it also brings the listener a bit further into new areas for the band. “We’re All the Same in the Dark” has the classic 70s Purple hard rock sound while “Nothing at All” sounds almost like something Mott the Hoople could’ve done. “Step by Step” is splendid and a bit different with its edginess. “Man Alive” is an exquisite track where it sounds as if Bob Ezrin has been able to get something new out of Purple. “The Power of the Moon” is a track that manages to create something rather interesting by combining trademark Purple with contemporary influences. There are plenty of obvious, and some less obvious, nuances to Purple’s new music. Bringing the band to Nashville to write and record the new album seems to have paid off in a good way. Overall, despite the band walking into some for them unusual musical neighbourhoods, Deep Purple plays it fairly safe on this album. That is OK for a 52-year-old band that is now nearing the end of its journey. But the Purple boys still have a playfulness about them and they have a very solid foundation to their songs and performance skills. The catchy “Dancing in My Sleep” manages to sound like a big band blues rocker mixed with some 1980s pop vibes to finally arrive at a contemporary-sounding track. It’s one of the 13-track album’s best songs. Nashville and Bob Ezrin have been good for today’s Deep Purple.
Deep Purple’s album “Whoosh!” will be released on 7th August via Ward Records in Japan and earMusic internationally.