Deep Purple
Bananas


3.5
great

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
November 18th, 2009 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After being around for more than three decades, Deep Purple had something to prove with Bananas. That is exactly what they did.

Deep Purple: A Retrospective

Episode XIX: Bananas

Seemingly, the decade that has now almost ended did not have a great start for one of the longest-surviving rock veterans Deep Purple. In 2002, organist/keyboardist Jon Lord announced his amicable retirement, which left drummer Ian Pace as only founding member (which as of today, he still remains). Lord had, together with Ritchie Blackmore in past years, been more essential to Deep Purple’s sound than anyone else ever featured in its ever-changing line-up. Would Deep Purple, after Blackmore’s permanent leave, survive such a second harsh blow"

That answer came a year later, and it is yes: they actually could. As we jump a year forward, Lord has been replaced by fellow veteran keyboardist Don Airey, known for his numerous guest appearances on works of a great many different artists, ranging from classical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to progressive act Jethro Tull to heavy metal legends Judas Priest. Deep Purple also release their 17th studio album in this year, entitled Bananas. To everyone’s surprise, it is a record of actual quality. As for the new formation, already Mark VIII, it still lasts today.

Deep Purple Mk. VIII is:

- Ian Gillan ~ Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
- Steven J. Morse ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Donald Airey ~ Keyboards
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums, Percussion

Guests:

- Paul Buckmaster ~ String Arrangement and Cello on Haunted
- Beth Hart ~ Backing Vocals on Haunted
- Michael Bradford ~ Guitar on Walk On

Bananas may feature an ensemble of 5 men in their 50’s, but despite age, Deep Purple hadn’t sounded so fresh in years. In fact, it is almost hard to miss Lord at all, as Airey’s catchy and slightly more playful and upbeat keys add much flavour to the record. As for the rest of the band, as much as they sounded so sullen and dreary on far too much of Abandon, so much sound they excited and willing on Bananas. Especially Gillan, who clearly never gets enough of his job, sounds exceedingly vital.

The good thing about the material is that the band that produced it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Deep Purple knew what they could and couldn’t do by after 3 decades in the business, and instead of producing neither clichéd House of the Blue Light-hard rock nor trying to be experimental which resulted in the one-off success Purpendicular, the boys make something that is playful, doesn’t come across as wanting to be ‘their best record in years’, a thing a great too many veteran bands tend to claim when releasing new work. As heard in the fitting opener House of Pain, which indeed sets the tone for the album more than any other track could have, Gillan even smartly makes a parody of himself. His opening scream conveys but one message: ‘I can’t really do those anymore, but I tell ya, I’m having fun!’. Needless to say, the listener will have just as much fun. The same goes for the first lyrics: ‘Have you ever had a woman that could make you crazy"/Have you ever had a woman that could drive you mad"’. This time, Gillan wrote them cliché-ridden on purpose, and it is this whole approach that works wonders for the appeal of Bananas.

Morse, who as it seems now finally has found a comfortable position in Purple, provides tremendous backbones for the tracks. His riffs are catchy yet technical when they need to, he is a great talent with the solos, and his playing is fresh because of his jazz fusion roots. Without him, it is doubtful Deep Purple would have ever sounded so well-presented as they do on this album. On top of that, he closes off Bananas with style, with the one-and-a-half-minute Contact Lost, a slow, moody instrumental he wrote about the crash of the Columbia astronauts.

Other highlights include the slow-burning Walk On, featuring effective extra guitar from Michael Bradford, who produced the album, and Haunted. The latter has a complete string arrangement, and the addition of a cello, which both add much to the ballad. It also marks the first time in the band’s history anyone but Gillan handles backing vocals. Still, Deep Purple prove they can show new things without going out of their league.

A pleasant surprise, so late added to their discography, that is what Bananas is exactly. It’s fresh but not too daring, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it never gets too out of hand. Airey proves an excellent addition, Morse continues to amaze, and the 70’s veterans are all still having good fun. This album is as good a balance a band Deep Purple’s age can create, and it created something that truly can be called great. Deep Purple clearly still know how things work.

Recommended tracks:

House of Pain
Walk On
Haunted
Picture of Innocence



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user ratings (195)
Chart.
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
November 18th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And also after three decades, Deep Purple still know nothing about artwork. One-but-final Purple review here. Can't believe I've been ploughing through all that.

TheStarclassicTreatment
November 18th 2009


2910 Comments


Contact Lost is unbelievably beautiful

Nagrarok
November 18th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wanted to put it on the recs list, but I figured no, because it's only a short instrumental. But a very good one at that.

EVedder27
November 18th 2009


6088 Comments


nice Nag. pos'd.

Chewie
November 18th 2009


4539 Comments


I somehow have this album, its pretty awesome

sublimefan1991
November 18th 2009


817 Comments


deep purple is awful. i'm forced to hear this album everytime my dad plays it on the drums. ian gillan is the most annoying vocalist i could imagine.

Parallels
November 18th 2009


8858 Comments


i love deep purple. i gotta hear this album yet. good review. i loved purpendicular

Nagrarok
November 19th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@sublimefan: Gillan is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock vocalists to come out of the 70's, and with good reason. He sure isn't as good now as he was then, but annoying...?



@Sonicspeed: I you loved Purpendicular, chances are you'll love this too. I'd give it a listen.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 19th 2009


8573 Comments


Gillan even makes smartly makes a parody of himself
from Michael Bradford, who produced the album, and iHaunted
coming back with a nitpick revenge ;)

Album cover looks horrible yet again and review is good yet again, nice work.

Nagrarok
November 19th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fixed, styles. Stay tuned, the finale Purple review Rapture of the Deep is coming in within half an hour.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 19th 2009


8573 Comments


I'm tuned alright. I've got some weird illness atm anyway. In the morning everything was cool and about 3 hours back, I suddenly fell victim to a disease. Dunno what it is but thanks to it I'm now stuck at home. I never get sick (maybe once a year max) so I'm quite surprised by this whatever it is.

Nagrarok
November 19th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, hope that improves. At least you'll be around to read my reviews, hehe. I'm eager to finally post the final of those 20 reviews. Jeez, that means Deep Purple makes up for more than a quarter of my contributions to sputnik.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 19th 2009


8573 Comments


Thanks man, yeah it's nothing bad, I'm not feeling like shit or anything, just kinda ...ummm.......sick haha. I'm just really surprised as this almost never happens. Oh well, gonna drink tea, eat soem meds and hoppe I'm bac in shape tomorrow

hahahaha, and the second quarter is Judas Priest amiright?

Nagrarok
November 19th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Aye. I believe my work on Priest is a few more (since I was crazy enough to do all of the live album too. Won't do that again soon...)

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 19th 2009


8573 Comments


you truly are the site's resident classic rock/metal expert.

Also, i accept your challenge, Dio's Last In Line hasn't got a review so I'll do it! Don't know when though, yet.

Nagrarok
November 19th 2009


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very good, and thank you. I might one day aspire to become contributor.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 19th 2009


8573 Comments


Also, I was watching TV yesteraday and during commercial, I accidentally listened to the radio for the duration of the break. There was this metal program playing and I just accidentally, thanks to that, discovered one of this year's better melodeath albums. Dark Age - Acedia. You might want to give it a go when you have the time as I am rather impressed after the first listen through. Nothing that hasn't been done before, but still pretty good. Easily at least to the 3.5 area. Maybe even 4, but I need to listen to it more.

And yeah, one day, when you feel like it, you should definitely consider it. You've got the skills to be a contributor for sure.

13themount
January 16th 2012


173 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Purple sounding like an ordinary hard rock band; very ordinary vocals from Gillan.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2012


11340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A breath of fresh air after the lousy Abandon and once again weird artwork. Who the hell advises the band to release album with these covers?

ViperAces
March 16th 2013


12588 Comments


haunted is much better than the new single they just released



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