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Monday, December 5, 2022

Review: Deep Purple – Whoosh!

Label: Ear Music

Date: August 7th, 2020

Gone are the days of “In Rock” and “Machine Head”. But you know what!? It is still damn good to hear these dinosaurs! And see them alive and still kicking! Sure, they have gone bananas (pun very much intended) once or twice, but it is absolutely understandable given that they have been with us for over half a century (not counting the decade long break). Entire generations of fans and bands have come and gone, but we still have a chance to hear the new Deep Purple record. And most important of all, it is a rather good one!

Right from the very beginning it is notable you are dealing with yet another classic Purple record. Their brand of traditional and ever so slightly hard rock is well-known. Already on “Throw My Bones” you get a dose of that oh-so-familiar keyboard vs. guitar combo. Steve Morse and Don Airey complement each other as though they’ve been playing together their entire lives. One cannot but think of the Blackmore / Lord combination from the golden Purple era. The two actual members of the band obviously do not live in the past, nor do they mimic their predecessors. What they do is swerve a bit around the established lines, going even further along the way of classical music. The highly successful experiment in “Nothing at All”, though recalling Queen a bit (multiple vocals and the rhythm for the most part), stands as a proof. The song might sound ‘poppy’ at first, but it is stamped with Deep Purple seal of approval. A short instrumental, “Remission Possible”, sets another example for such tendencies.

It is also nice to hear Gillan keeping his voice completely together. Without even trying for his trademarked heights, he delivers a clean, yet strong and compact performance throughout. Glover and Paice display their versatility, even if their skills never were in too much of a spotlight. “Step by Step” proves the point. Or the somewhat darker “The Power of the Moon” Backbone, but one hell of a backbone! Unharmed by age, still standing straight and strong.

But you all know that! This is a quintet of top-notch musicians, there was never any question about that. The question that should be asked is whether “Whoosh!” will stand proud among its forerunners. And it just might.

As far as the songs go, the band leads you on an emotional rollercoaster. Along the way, you will hear that the old rockers still have something to say. They can still get political, socially conscious, environmentally aware… There’s a couple of regular rock ’n’ rolling tracks like the ones that gained Deep Purple the fame they deserved. “What the What” almost resurrects the late 50’s / early 60’s. Another aspect of the band, all through their long history, are those monumental tracks, though often drenched in gloomy atmosphere. The mentioned “Step by Step” and the epic “Man Alive” are the prime choices in that category. “And the Address”, on the other hand, is a clear shout-out to their bluesy origins.

The one thing that stands out within these 51 minutes is the playfulness and joy. You can almost feel just how good the band felt while writing and recording. There is so much life pumped into this recording that it simply exudes through the speakers. The old-timers have once again shown the pure sensation of playing. The key might just be in the absence of any sort of attempt to revive the good old days. They will not come back, but the moment Purple has captured is priceless.

All of that combined… Whoosh! What a record!