Review Summary: A poor record by an amazing band.Deep Purple: A Retrospective
Episode VIII: Who Do We Think We Are!
Mark II Deep Purple had always been ridden with internal issues between its band members, and a climax was inevitable. Made in Japan
may have benefited from the ongoing rivalry, causing unmatched and intense duels pushing out everyone’s best, but when the band returned to the studio to record their next studio album, things were different. The band were tired from touring, but yet their management wanted to keep capitalizing on their success, pushing them to complete their next album. A worn-out Gillan was feuding with Blackmore, and relations within the band got even worse. The two got so annoyed with each other they did not even wish to be in the same space, and so it came to be that vocals and guitar were recorded without any involvement or interest from the guitarist and vocalist, respectively. Eventually, Gillan would step out of the band due to continuous frustration, followed by Glover, who had heard Blackmore had intentions of firing him. The famous Mark II line-up had come to an unfortunate ending.
Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals, Harmonica
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
What they left us with is Deep Purple’s seventh studio album, Who Do We Think We Are!
, and it is a product completely unrepresentative of what this band was capable of. The tensions within the band heavily affected the quality of the album, as where with previous albums every song was enjoyable to a certain extent, there are only two memorable outputs featured here. Opener Woman From Tokyo
is a catchy song with a signature Blackmore guitar riff (just about the only one on the entire album), and a standout performance from Gillan, describing the band’s first visit to Japan a year before. Also Rat Bat Blue
hits the right mark, with its funky rhythm section and once again great vocal performance.
But as said, that’s where it stops. The rest of material found on WDWTWA!
sounds like Deep Purple, but without the spark that made their earlier Mk. II work so fantastic. The main problem here is that the rest of the material is too generic for the band's standard, with for Marly Long
, Super Trouper
and Smooth Dancer
being just a handful of songs that contain uninspired soloing, unoriginal song structures, and sub-par lyrics. Place in Line
is the slower bluesy track, a recurring feature on Deep Purple albums (a la Fools, Lazy and Mistreated), but is more sleep-inducing than it is captivating. Closer Our Lady
even tries to encompass gospel elements, but falls flatt on the face because the band doesn't even sound like themselves anymore.
This makes a poor record by a worn-out band, and as such it is only recommended for the avid Purple fans or Mk. II obsessives. Luckily, Deep Purple would revitalize itself a year later and release the fantastic Burn
Woman From Tokyo
Rat Bat Blue