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Deep Purple - Purpendicular CD (album) cover

PURPENDICULAR

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.68 | 392 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Be upstanding for a fine album

Following the release of "The battle rages on", a tour of Japan was planned to promote it. Blackmore's irritation with Gillan's return reached boiling point though and he quit the band again, this time apparently for good. The other members of the group went ahead with the tour, Joe Satriani stepping in on guitar. Having considered permanently retiring the Deep Purple name, the four remaining members were inspired by the success of the tour to carry on. Satriani gave way to ex-Kansas member Steve Morse, who has been in the band ever since, and the mark 7 version of Deep Purple was born.

The first album by this line up was "Purpendicular". The recordings took place in in Florida throughout most of 1995, the writing credits unusually being democratically shown as "Deep Purple" throughout. The band were clearly invigorated by the tour and by Morse's arrival, the album having a freshness to it which was missing from its immediate predecessors, while still drawing heavily on the strengths of the band's back catalogue.

The opening "Vavoom: Ted the mechanic" is slightly misleading as the semi-rapped vocals of Ian Gillan and the funky guitar work of the new boy are more reminiscent of Aerosmith than Deep Purple. On the plus side, Morse's contribution on guitar is confident while making it clear that he has not joined simply in order to imitate Ritchie.

After what is effectively a false start, "Loosen my strings" is a highly melodic, slightly slower number with a simple but effective guitar motif. Once again, Morse's guitar soloing here is quite exquisite. The impression is given that he is being allowed to take centre stage instrumentally as soon as possible in order to introduce himself. The track has similarities with the best track on the album "Sometimes I feel like screaming". This 7 minute delight is one of the best songs to have appeared on a Deep Purple album, ever. High praise I know given the band's pedigree, but this prog influenced song builds from a quiet start though louder rock interludes, carried all the while by a simple but delightful guitar refrain. The song describes the loneliness of being on the road, but the shared credit disguises which of the band members was inspired to document their frustration. It sounds as though strings have been added to the overall mix, but these could simply be the keyboards of Jon Lord. A truly magnificent Deep Purple song though.

In between these two great songs we find "Soon forgotten", a rather strange (for Deep Purple) heavy plodding number with a Black Sabbath feel. Lyrically, the song is best described as intriguing, with lines such as "Did you know the warriors of the flat earth have become the tyrants of the globe? It's round about that time again, She cried "It's all for one of my friends"".

"The aviator" is another odd song, the snare drums and mandolin sound giving it a Celtic flavour. Even Gillan's vocals are folk orientated perhaps with hints of Trevor Lucas era Fairport Convention. Another fine song though, but be prepared for something a little outside the box.

There are inevitably a number of songs which might be described as standard Deep Purple fare, such as "Cascades: I'm not your lover" and "A castle full of rascals". Even these though display a new enthusiasm and energy, the band clearly determined to show that with Morse on board they are operating as a coherent unit once more. Jon Lord's profile is relatively low on the album, "A touch away" being one of the few times when he adds a noteable keyboards solo.

In all, an excellent first album for this version of Deep Purple even if 80% of the line up comes from Deep Purple mark 2. Steve Morse makes an immediate impact with his fresh guitar style, while the rest of the band have clearly found renewed inspiration. From a prog perspective, this is pretty straightforward stuff, with only the best track, "Sometimes I feel like screaming" really pushing the boundaries within the song. The overall diversity of the album though does add an extra dimension for the prog hungry.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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