Review Summary: Purple fail to keep the reunited quality up...Deep Purple: A Retrospective
Episode XIV: The House of Blue Light
Though Deep Purple made quite a comeback with their 1984 reunion album Perfect Strangers
, things inevitably went wrong again in Mark II. Strained tensions that had remained buried during the recording and touring for Perfect Strangers
unfortunately resurfaced, causing a once again unfriendly atmosphere within the band. As a result, the recording of Deep Purple’s 12th studio album The House of Blue Light
became difficult, much of it having to be re-recorded. It was released in 1987, three years after it predecessor, and seen as a disappointment among critics and fans alike.
Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals, Congas, Harmonica
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar, Synthesiser
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards, Organ
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
One of Perfect Stranger
’s greatest strengths was its creativity and different stylistic approaches, but this is exactly what is lacking on THOBL
. Instead, the band sounds too obviously like they want to score a hit single. This is not a real problem yet at the start of the album, as both of the two first songs, Bad Attitude
and The Unwritten Law
are catchy, enjoyable rockers, but still you feel something is missing there. That little something is the spirit of the entire band, the spirit that made albums such as In Rock
and Machine Head
so great. Everyone’s playing their parts professionally, but not a single track is greater than the sum of its parts. Add to that a bunch of sub-par songs of the same nature, such as Mad Dog
and Hard Lovin’ Woman
, which are both repetitive and have an useless and silly synthesizer section, and you’ve already got a slight issue with an album.
The real trouble arises with songs such as Call of the Wild
, where Deep Purple is definitely selling out. Remember what Van Halen
did with their greatest hit Jump
" Remember what Judas Priest
did with Turbo
" That is exactly what Deep Purple does here, although luckily to a lesser extent. Synth-heavier tracks with a poppy approach are something the boys never should have ventured into.
Still, there are a few little surprises here. Strangeways
and The Spanish Archer
both incorporate Eastern-flavoured melodies, something also Hungry Daze
did on their previous album. This time however, it works a great deal better with the songs. Mitzi Dupree
is successful tell-tale by Gillan, and Dead or Alive
shows some great interplay between the ever-strong Blackmore and Lord, making for a great last section of the album.
What that all makes of The House of Blue Light
, is a very mixed bag which comes off as an unfinished product and misses the spark of classic Deep Purple. That said, the catchy rockers can be quite enjoyable, and even the sub-par tracks to a certain amount. The final section of the album makes for its most enjoyable, in showing some creativity after all. As a whole, however, Deep Purple's 12th is plagued by being way too unfocused, and comes off as a rather average affair, especially for something with the name Deep Purple on it.
Dead or Alive
The Unwritten Law