Review Summary: Same recipe, less taste.
Each one of Deep Purple’s last three albums involved some kind of innuendo regarding the legendary act’s future; something logical, considering its members’ age and the fact that this is the only remaining active band among the three who formed heavy metal. With all due respect, the boys could have easily retired some 25 years ago as a result of numerous feuds between founding member Ritchie Blackmore and their frontman Ian Gillan, but Steve Morse initially and Don Airey later on, seem to have rejuvenated and pushed the band to a new direction.
proved to be a breath of fresh air, by putting forth a modern Deep Purple sound with progressive elements; a much-needed change, as well as a natural one, considering that the main soloists are different not just in name, but mostly, approach. In the meantime, they included some of the best modern Purple songs such as “Above and Beyond”, “Uncommon Man”, “The Surprising”, and “Birds of Prey”. In a nutshell, this is exactly what Whoosh!
is missing. The musical direction is similar to the aforementioned LPs, the lineup is unchanged, and the producer, who did a remarkable job previously, is the same as well. However, what this release lacks is a couple of standout tracks that would stand the test of time, not like “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”, but like “Ted the Mechanic” or the aforementioned ones. That doesn’t mean that the album lacks memorable moments, such as the chorus of “Throw My Bones”, that reveals a band comfortable in its skin; a feat that makes “modern” Deep Purple sound more organic than the ‘80s and ‘90s trying-to-recreate-the-past Purple. The one-two punch of “Remission Possible” and “Man Alive” is also one of the highlights here; two atmospheric pieces that contain moments of brilliance and pure class, along with some interesting interplay between Morse and Airey. Actually, it’s tracks like those two or the remake of “And the Address” that make me think that the more rocking songs should revolve around interplays rather than barroom piano melodies such as on “What the What”. A couple more interesting songs are the imposing “Step by Step” which could have easily been a couple of minutes longer, and “The Power of the Moon” which includes some of Morse’s best moments.
So, where does this album stand compared to Purple’s recent output? Is “And the Address” – the opener on Shades of Deep Purple
as well – another hint that maybe this is it for the Hertford act? Will the rest of the lads accept Blackmore’s proposal and do a one-off show for the fans?
Regarding the last two rhetorical questions, I have no idea. However, something tells me that this is not the end for these guys, especially considering that Whoosh!
was much ready a year ago. Now, as far as where this LP stands compared to its two predecessors, I’d say that it’s not as consistently good as Now What?!
and it doesn’t contain inFinite’s
peaks. Nonetheless, it’s classy, enjoyable, and it’s certainly commendable to see legendary musicians who have nothing to prove, feel the desire to express themselves artistically.