Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Launching into pandemic-ridden 2020 rock behemoths Deep Purple have conjured up an absolute aural delight with ‘Whoosh!’ their 21st studio release that is a most welcome distraction from current events.
Some three years since ‘Infinite’, their last recorded offering, Purple have returned to the limelight with a strong justification and a clear confidence in their material.
Initial listen gives a parallel of the sense of wonder and awe that I felt, as a starry-eyed teenager upon first hearing ‘In Rock’ several moons past.
It’s little surprise, in truth, given that three of the current Purple line-up – wide-ranging vocalist Ian Gillan and the dream pairing of bassist Roger Glover and sticksman Ian Paice in the rhythm section – were musical partners in crime on this much-lauded long-player.
This trio’s talents are sweetly entwined, nowadays, with those of six-string virtuoso Steve Morse and Don Airey, the latter a most worthy successor to the legendary Jon Lord.
Opening track ‘Throw My Bones’, deservedly play-listed by Radio 2, lays down a marker in the metaphorical sand with Gillan demonstrating his vocal versatility with a swaggering, swaying stance that wraps around those sweet sounds of Morse and Airey; a recurring theme throughout. The subtle funk housed within this bluesy number will have those hips moving without much effort.
Next up heads will be nodding with the introductory riffs of ‘Drop Your Weapon’ that give an Angus Young melded with Francis Rossi feel before Airey’s swirling keys take matters into more contemporary territory.
There is an edge to the delivery of this rocking tune, wrestling with the matter of violence on our streets, that gives a modern feel but all the while with that undeniable classic Purple stamp.
That trademark continues with ‘We’re All the Same in the Dark’; Morse’s blues-drenched dirty licks are further enhanced by those delicious Hammond outputs to produce a sub four minute rocker that edges towards anthemic; but we never do find out what happened down in Mexico.
Purple turn up the quirkiness with ‘Nothing At All’ with classical styled keys and Gillan’s crystal clear voice. Oft overlooked Glover and Paice’s solid-as-you-like rhythms come to the fore here as matters are stripped back; less is most certainly more. ‘No Need to Shout’
is raucous rousing three and a half minutes that will no doubt keep arenas happy as Purple hark back to the glory days of ‘Stormbringer’ and ‘Demon’s Eye’.
‘Step by Step’ has an ethereal, other-worldly feel to it; if you ever wondered what it would be like to be haunted by Deep Purple in their prog splendour then wonder no more! Matters get notched up with the piano boogie ‘What the What’, a wonderful throwback to those halcyon days of rock n’roll, before ‘The Long Way Round’ trucks along at a crowd pleasing head-nodding pace.
‘The Power of the Moon’ reaches out it’s sinister talons to claw into the very soul of the unwary; think Purple prog-magic with undertones of druidic solstice celebrations; quite unexpected.
Instrumental ‘Remission Possible’ is an ideal bridge between the lunar inspired previous and the sun-rising feel of ‘Man Alive’; in which Gillan indulges in the spoken word as he contemplates, existentially, in a style reminiscent of that of Richard Burton’s journalist in ‘War of the Worlds’.
Penultimate track ‘And The Address’, the instrumental opening track of 68’s ‘Shades of …’, has been given a terrific, shiny makeover for the 21st century before ‘Whoosh!’ closes with ‘Dancing in My Sleep”; a perfect bookend companion to opener ‘Throw My Bones’ with a linking funky drift.
This album is clear and defined evidence of five musicians writing and performing with a confident maturity and having a whale of a time along the way. Highly recommended.