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Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are CD (album) cover

WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

2.91 | 398 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Ok, so it's laudable on the part of Gillan that he didn't like that the band had established for itself a bit of a stylistic rut, and that he wanted the band to branch out a little. But with intra- band tensions reaching a fever point (Ritchie had a bit of a reputation for not getting along with his vocalists, a theme that would pop up through the rest of his career), this wasn't exactly the best time to try and go out on a limb. Especially when that limb ended up costing the band most of what made it stand out from everybody else in the first place.

In all fairness, though, I really like the album's most famous song, the hit "Woman from Tokyo." Ok, so it's basically mid-tempo generic heavy pop rock, which can understandably drive many people away from it (honestly, I remembered it as not so good until I started listening to this album in earnest for reviewing purposes). But dang it, the riff is nice, the hooks are well-established, Gillan gets in some delightfully dorky "OW!!" screams in the verses, the mid-section is lovely, the coda is fun ... It's a bit disappointing as an opener to a DP album, since it doesn't blaze like we've come to expect from DP openers, but as a song unto itself, it's quite a nice little ditty.

Unfortunately, there's the rest of the album to deal with, which I find extremely disappointing. The thing that bugs me the most when listening to a lot of these songs is that I can tell that this is a band that is instinctively comfortable with making heavy music, yet it almost seems as if, once they'd sense that a song was veering in that direction, that they'd intentionally try to shift the mode away from ass-kicking and into poppier modes. Only problem is, the attempts to put poppier aspects in the songs just aren't that good - the lukewarm "rocking out" is compounded by the lukewarm hooks, and the result just seems incredibly lifeless and mediocre to me. It also doesn't help that some of the "rock out" attempts use older classics as crib notes - "Super Trouper" is based off of "Bloodsucker" (before aborting the riffage and turning into some sort of stupid poppy psychedelic thing), and "Smooth Dancer" reminds me just a little bit too much of Speed King for my comfort.

Of the other four tracks, "Rat Bat Blue" is undoubtedly the best, as it boasts a ferocious funky riff (over which Ian throws some stupid singing) that eventually gives way to a great organ jam. Alas, "Mary Long" tries to rock but doesn't (and has stupid lyrics to boot), "Place in Line" is a lazy attempt at a blues jam, and the closing "Our Lady" goes in one of my ears and out the other, leaving no trace of its attempt at majesty or whatever.

In short, mediocrity abounds. Glover and Gillan left in disgust (or did Ritchie push them out? Ah, the mysteries of life), and thus ended Mk. 2. So sad that such a great band went out on such a non-great note.

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |

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