Posts Tagged ‘Review’

LP Reviews and News

March 17, 2017

infinitereleasedate

This is going to be a long one!  I promised a review for last Monday but it’s been a mad week work wise so my thoughts and those of another fan lucky enough to have been allowed a listen (please do not pester either, reviews are mostly done via a secure streaming server these days) follow further down the page after the news:

The ‘making of’ documentary shown over the weekend on Sky will be on the DVD package, and in a longer form (after paying your subs and having to watch ads every 10 mins, it came down to about an hour; the DVD is 90 mins.) It is being repeated tonight I think, and premiered in Cardiff today by the production company too (I thanked them for their nice invite, but need more than 24 hours notice to travel that distance these days!)
The prog. did give the distinct impression that Steve Morse is really struggling with his hand, which as many know has been encased in a medical support bandage on stage for a couple of years now. He is not sure how much longer he can carry on playing. This naturally cast a shadow over what most say was an otherwise insightful programme:

“The Sky Arts documentary was very enjoyable, and a good teaser for the album – sadly broken up by ads every 10 minutes. Very interesting to see how much Bob Ezrin was able to just jump in (eg at the height of Steve overdubbing his solo on Birds Of Prey) – to say things like “no, not like that…”
A real highlight was the first instrumental take of Bedlam, performed live in the studio. This includes the solos. Amazing to watch. The track finished at that point, with everyone congratulating Don on his playing.
The main health issue seems to be Steve’s arthritic right hand. He was saying it might be the last album he’d be able to record.”
David Browne

“Ian Gillan and Roger Glover explain that the title of ‘All I Got Is You’ comes from an expression Paicey has been using for decades.  Ian Gillan comments that Little Ian always wanted paying for contributing the odd word to the lyrics – “He’s a very funny guy. He’s an annoying fuck actually!” (laughs).
Steve explained his condition as being a consequence of his playing technique over the past 50 years; the way he twists his hand across his guitar so that he can both pick the strings and use the heel of his hand to mute them has led to osteoarthritis in his wrist – basically the cartilage has worn away, so bone is rubbing on bone if he plays like this, causing pain.”
Tim Summers

And nobody should underestimate the power of coverage like this; in that well known tax dodger’s online shop it went from No. 70 in the pre-sale chart to 58 about an hour after the broadcast. It went up to 26 the next day and was in the top ten by Sunday afternoon!  The docco is also being screened in selected cinemas across Germany this week, Edel – clearly enthused by the reaction to the last album – seem to be going great guns on the promotion again.

INFINITE ALBUM REVIEWS

Having been playing this for a few days now it will be interesting to see what everyone else makes of it. Now What did mark a bit of a change in direction and experimentation and this one feels like it was recorded in much the same spirit. Overall it’s very solid musically; there are nods to Purple’s past which many will pick up on, but it’s often a grungier and denser sound than the last album, and were they to graft a large chunk of these tracks into the stage set this year (if!) it should make for a killer show.
In a way it is a shame they feel they can’t trial tracks so much on stage now for fear of pirating, as some of the material does sound like it comes from a standing start, whereas the one cut they have done live is quickly becoming a favourite. There are a couple too many good time late night bar stories from Ian Gillan lyrically for me, in these uncertain times there are more pressing matters which might have inspired another barbed lyric or two, and certainly the backings would take a heavier approach in this department from the front man. But when he does find the muse outside the tavern it all comes together and Birds Of Prey is a good example, sounding very grown up.  I think this is the one Classic Rock sort of dismissed as a Zepp knock off (in fact I was more reminded of Yes at one point, maybe CR’s prog rock comments were more on the button than I realised); yes Steve gives it a real Pagey type rhythm, but takes it much further and to me CR missed the point rather; once you move on from the opening few bars it is very much a Purple track and it’ll be a proper humdinger on stage, believe me.
Time For Bedlam most have now heard and it makes a strong opener. I can hear the Pictures Of Home echoes which some have mentioned, reinforced mostly by Ian’s vocal melody line and Steve Morse’s work, but it’s hardly a distraction. I still can’t make my mind up about the chanted vocal section which top and tail this but otherwise it is infused with the spirit of Purple throughout.
The Surprising is one of the longer offerings, and they range far and wide over the course of a sometimes slower more laid back track. Lovely vocals from Ian, full of emotion at times. The band sort of go for epic, me I’d have been as happy to edit out the wandering middle section and tighten it all up, but it clearly gives them a kicking off point for a live take. There are nods back to Gates Of Babylon here, and even Clannad at one point for those old enough to remember them.
Hip Boots is one which has been around for a while and whilst it may not (though give it time) be a killer track, it has grown on me a lot and you can see why they gave it second place in the running order. I love the loose rambling feel to it and Steve’s playing (which it has to be said is stunning here) is absorbing, while Don likewise gives it just the right amount of Hammond. Worth the price of admission alone.
The band get dirtier on One Night In Vegas, which reminds me a little of Almost Human, one of my favourites from the SM era, and the same vibe runs through Get Me Outta Here although lyrically the latter doesn’t really stir the pot enough for me.
The riff to Johnny’s Band is bugging me, it’ll click eventually I’m sure. Ian has covered this sort of ground before on Purpendicular and places. It’s OK in a road house sort of way and Radio 2 apparently went for if big time the other week, so at least listeners there will know about the album.
Elsewhere people will love as I do Roger’s thumping bass through On Top Of The World which should sound great via some decent speakers. I’m less convinced by All I Got Is You, despite the care worn vox and often caustic lyrics, while for me the cover version which they inexplicably tag onto the end of the album is a box set bonus at best.  Though Ann reckons it’s IG’s best singing on the album, so it’s already dividing opinion at DPAS towers.  On first listen it just sounded like a studio warm up, and it has since been confirmed that’s exactly what it is.  It might have worked better sequenced earlier in the album, but I won’t be rushing back.
Well, some good tracks to add to the now two decade long Steve Morse era output and I’m sure everyone who has stuck with the band thus far will find something here to enjoy in varying degrees. I should add I’ve been listening to fairly compressed official MP3s (with permission!) so it seems silly to try and comment on overall sound and production until I buy the CD. And buy it I will.  Simon Robinson

I’m generally enjoying it more with each listen… Time for Bedlam – A solid opener, the vocoder effect seems fitting and natural after a few spins.  A restrained vocal means that much can be conveyed with slight inflections – as seen with IG’s ‘We are never alone’ line towards the end.  Rather wonderful.
Hip Boots – Sprightly, sweary, no nonsense – this is good stuff actually.  Much better than the rather tentative limited run of live try-outs would suggest.
All I Got is You – The old put-down (‘You’ve got me, but all I’ve got is you’) is given a pleasing run-out in what initially seems to be a fairly standard Mk Morse/Airey type work-out.  A space age solo from Don merges into a laidback one from Steve.  Improves with repeated listening.  More swearing from IG to finish!
One Night in Vegas –  IG in storyteller mode, Don in bar room boogie mode.  Good, if slightly cruise-controlly for this band.
Get Me Outta Here – Lovely Paicey intro and then a backing that initially brings ‘Nasty Piece of Work’ from ‘Battle Rage On’ to mind.  Again, solid if lacking a little oomph… the brooding backing deserves better than the rather lazy lyric writing here.
The Surprising –  Now we’re talking! Eerie keyboards give way to moody guitar (which sounds like Metallica according to my daughter) – which set up IG’s mournful  almost Johnny Cash-like vocal – and he’s in storyteller mode again – to great effect! ‘There I was, wide awake and dreaming…’ – marvellous.  Authoritative drumming from Paicey heralds the instrumental breaks with Don’s almost movie soundtrack like keyboard work suiting the mood perfectly. Steve almost blows it with a fairly standard Dregs/Classical Gassy type solo, before bringing it back down nicely before the coda.  Extraordinary track.
Johnny’s Band – Radio-friendly Purple (Ken Bruce has already played it on BBC Radio 2).  A sort of tamed-down ‘Junkyard Blues’ riff backs more IG story telling, this time about…well, a band obviously.  A little lightweight maybe, but pleasant enough.
On Top of the World – Starts out as a fairly standard Airey/Morse backing track, but repeated listenings reveal a nice solid latter-day Purple track, with more storytelling in the vocals. Nice solos, and even the rather strange spoken section towards the end is starting to bed-in a bit now.
Birds of Prey – The battle for my favourite track is between this and ‘The Surprising’; here we have a great brooding rock track that builds and builds to a shattering finish.  A display of controlled power and musical dynamics. Great stuff!
Roadhouse Blues –  Somewhat disposable warm-up type treatment of The Doors song here.  Comparable to ‘It’ll Be Me’ from NW?!  Misplaced after the fitting crescendo of ‘Birds of Prey’, which would have made a suitable finale to the album.  There probably is a place for this sort of Purple (a ‘Basement Tapes’ type album?) – but last song on this album isn’t it.
Overall a mixed bag then – repeated listenings are helping appreciate the ‘lesser’ tracks (well, most of them).  A worthy effort all the same.  Hopefully it won’t be the last studio album, but if it is, then it’s not a bad way to go out.
Tim Summers

 

Bolstering bass and more.

March 3, 2017

Needless to say the build up to the album is getting more intense and with the band doing interviews with loads of journalist’s lately, more is bound to emerge. Track down this page so you don’t miss anything!
There’s a “making of” Deep Purple’s new album documentary on Sky Arts, 11th March, 9pm. I guess this may form part of the DVD in the box set, and hopefully they’ll post it online later for those of us who don’t have access.
Now I wouldn’t normally post an advance press review, but given how down on Purple Classic Rock usually are, they have been quite upbeat about Infinite online (except for the Doors cover, which is worrying a lot of people), so if you don’t mind a bit of a spoiler (and a lot of tortured alliteration) read on! Otherwise look away now. Good to see Edel trust them with advance copies but not the fan sites. Thanks to Dave Browne.

InFinite definitely won’t disappoint fans of classic Purple. It’s a feast of wanton organ and quasi-classical keyboard curlicues, bolstering bass from Roger Glover and percussive surges courtesy of Paice. Gillan, meanwhile, is in grand over-the-top form, trying a little too hard, perhaps, to keep up with the heavy metal kids, effing and blinding throughout. Elsewhere, he’s ‘three sheets to the wind’ in One Night In Vegas, while On Top Of The World finds him variously lying ‘beside the most beautiful girl in the universe’ and ‘collapsed between the eyes of Morpheus’.
It’s colourful and inadvertently comical stuff, but there’s no denying that the music is worth taking seriously, from the rampaging opener Time For Bedlam and exotically textured The Surprising, to the Zep-ish Hip Boots and Birds Of Prey. The album closes with a perfunctory cover of Roadhouse Blues, but InFinite works best when Purple do what they do best: extrapolate and alchemise the blues, and take it to new progressive heights.”

USA set-list and review

August 19, 2014

There is the current set list for the August 2014 tour of America added to our 2014 date sheet, and Steve Hunt has sent us his thoughts on the show in California in front of over 7,000 people – so good to see they can still pull in a decent crowd when they do get to tour the U.S. properly. He and his wife enjoyed it so much they’re off to catch another show!

Things Fall Together

April 25, 2013
Deep Purple Now What album

Deep Purple Now What album stock arrives…

Well here I go again (as someone once sang). 40 years ago I was sprawled on the carpet in our Victorian ‘best’ room with the gas fire on low, poring over the sleeve to Who Do We Think We Are having been through the new album and wondering if this was the end of the band. 20 years later, The Battle Rages On cut a similar vibe of a band at war with itself and ready to call it a day.
So, another twenty years on, is Now What really a last gasp offering from Deep Purple as so many on the web have speculated? Is it bunnies. And if it was their last album, it certainly gives us enough to feel they went out guns blazing. Let’s deal with that ridiculous marketing tosh on the cover first, ‘Perfect Strangers meets Made In Japan’? Nothing ‘meets’ Made In Japan. It sits there as a statement for all time; the best rock band on the planet.
Instead Now What is more Perfect Strangers meets Purpendicular, via H-Bomb, Tarkus and LA Woman really. I even got Talking Heads and Jethro Tull at a couple of points. And Roxy Music (but that was only because the girls from Country Life fell off the shelf at one point and almost hit me on the head when I pushed the volume up at one spot).
It’s a good strong offering from most angles, and one which I know I’ll want to listen to again. Good grief, even Hell To Pay fits right in to the album once you cop an earful of the Mandrake Root-esque Rondo which spills out between verses. The only cut I really had to skip on was Uncommon Man, where Don’s seeming infatuation with all thing ELP gets a little too uncomfortable, but overall this certainly doesn’t sound like a band about to call it a day. Indeed right now it sounds like the best since Abandon to me (an album I still feel got a raw deal).
Rapture was such a dreadful disappointment I was so nervous putting this on, but I don’t think I’m just on the rebound here in getting so much out of this. The vinyl even has shiny inner bags and everything, just like a real LP. And we’re not even having to mention the mix, because we don’t have to. Bob Ezrin has done what was required by and large, and brought out just about the best in it (give or take one or two places where the solos leap out a little too prominently).
What I suspect are fairly, um, suspect lyrics on Apres Vous (wisely buried in the mix!) even herald a full on guitar keyboard trade off clearly inspired by days of yore. Paicey keeps it all on track (some have bemoaned his lack of flash but to me he drives it well) while Glover really appears to be enjoying it. And Vincent Price certainly brought a smile to my face. What other band would throw this at us to end an album? That’s what still makes Deep Purple special at times, because you really cannot measure them up against any other outfit. They’re out there, they do what they do, and at times like this we love them for trying. Sure a few bridges are a little simplistic, and once again they steam into some stunning little instro passages then refuse to stretch them out, but enough survives to bring a some enjoyment into our triple dip recession ridden times, which is fine by me. If they can be bothered to risk all and build a set around this one then it stands a chance of being as good as the Abandon tour. Here’s hoping. Now Ian, about those “seven screaming virgins on a sacrificial altar”, what exactly is it we have to sign up for to be in with a shot?

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