Review Summary: Aging gracefully.
What comes to your mind when you think of Deep Purple" Most of you might mention the screams, the guitar pyrotechnics, the wild improvisations, and legendary songs such as “Child in Time” or “Highway Star”. Now think that all these lasted less than 5 years and that the present incarnation of the band is the longest-standing in Deep Purple’s history!
Some of you may think that this introduction is irrelevant or wonder how it blends with the Deep Purple of today. Well, it may or may not blend seamlessly but the reality is that inFinite
has absolutely no similarities with the golden days of Mark II besides the fact that it is performed by 3/5’s of the classic Deep Purple line-up. In addition, one cannot compare the two eras simply because the two main soloists are very different in style and sound. Therefore, let us remove from our minds any such thought and focus on the present.
– with its Devin Townsend-esque cover art – is an album with flashes of brilliance and pure class but at the same time slightly uneven as it includes a few run-of-the-mill songs and a couple innate deficiencies. As a whole, like previous effort Now What"!
, it’s being dominated by Don Airey – who once again has done a marvelous job – and Steve Morse. Their interaction manages to make interesting even the more unremarkable tracks. For example, “Hip Boots” starts off as simple boogie but would border on filler without the two soloists’ contributions and “Time for Bedlam” really takes off during the keys and guitar interplays. Nevertheless, that is not always the case as “Get Me Outta Here” which is based on a slowed-down pattern of “Body Line” from Now What"!
feels like it lacks a certain direction, a drive.
What is more, Deep Purple were never known for their deep
lyrics and inFinite
is no exception. However, the stories behind “One Night in Vegas” with its playful barroom piano melody and “On Top of the World” are absolutely hilarious for those of you who care to make some research.
Moving on, where Purple’s latest LP really succeeds, is on the slower, more atmospheric and progressive songs; songs you can add to the list of underrated gems along with “Sail Away” and “Strangeways”. It is hard to imagine how a band with so many miles and hours of music on their resume can still write a song like “Surprising”; it begins like a normal slow rock song but at the 2-minute mark turns into a truly evocative and eerie prog beast to the point where it creates a feeling of awe. “All I Got Is You” is one of the most melancholic tracks but at the same time oozes of confidence, quality and features one of the LP’s best performances by Ian Gillan who intentionally is more restrained on this album. Moreover, “Birds of Prey” is the one track where I would be content if it’s proven Purple’s swan song. Listening to Morse’s emotional solo – whose playing is more bluesy and less fusion-y on here – during the song’s final two minutes, evokes images of the band throughout the years, from Montreux to the land of the rising sun. “Roadhouse Blues” might be the real closer but as they say, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”; for me, if it ends here, it ends with Morse’s solo.
For all we know, inFinite
may very well be Deep Purple’s final stand and, for what is worth, it cannot be compared with anything that the legendary act released in their heydays. However, try to think of bands that play like Deep Purple and you will probably fail to recognize even one. inFinite
with all its limitations, is an apotheosis of character and talent; the work of a group of men who feel comfortable in their own skin and comfortable with each other, which is weird to even fathom when we come to think of the history of the band. At the end of the day, if this is how this story ends, it is a happy end after all.