4 August 2013

Deep Purple - Now What?!

There's always a danger with the lack of impartiality and fair mindedness when you're reviewing a piece of one of your favourite bands that it's easy to miss the important points of a record. Another thing that worries me is that when your group releases a new album, is it a case of you should NEVER meet your heroes to avoid utter and complete despondency?

As a group, Deep Purple have doing the rounds since 1968 with an eight year hiatus in between. They have been through more personnel changes than the cast of Eastenders, countless lineup shuffles and now only Ian Paice remains as the original member (Jon Lord sadly passed away in 2012). However, there's real confidence that the torch can be passed on comfortably through six stringer Steve Morse who remarkably has now been with them longer than Ritchie Blackmore ever was, and Sunderland-born keyboardist Don Airey. Complementing the lineup is of course the remaining members of the Classic Mark II incarnation of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover.

Through all the hiring and firing, breakups and reformations, they've also managed to churn out 19 studio albums and Now What?! is their latest, released in 2013. First impressions are that it's not wise to strain your ears for anything new or groundbreaking, The 'Purple are keeping with the tried and trusted format of hard rock fillers intending to keep the night flowing. There is a little air of showmanship with Airey's ivory tinkling on the Hammond with Hell To Play, although the end where everything tails off seems a tad corny. Above And Beyond is meaty and Rainbow-esque with both Airey and Morse in full flow.

Paice shows good beats in Aprez Vous, and the keyboards reminds me very much of Focus's Sylvia while All The Time In The World is a pleasant easy going Tom Petty pastiche. Then we have Vincent Price, one of the heavier tracks and a blatant Halloween number, you can picture the great actor's image coming to spike your dreams with a vengeance.

I'd be doing a great injustice by comparing this to their zenith in Machine Head, nor will this I suspect be rated as a classic album. That said, it gets good marks from me as Now What?! sets out its purpose to be a listenable and entertaining record. Strong showing from The 'Purple here, they can still mix it with the younger guns and clear evidence that they still have plenty of creative ideas in tow. M. Richardson 04/08/2013

8 out of ten. Oh, now you have my attention, and maybe my money, time and heart.

Now What?! is available here on Amazon

You can listen to the album here on Spotify

Deep Purple's activities can be followed on their Official Website

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