Album Review: Deep Purple – Whoosh!

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Confident, triumphant, dramatic. Straight in at the deep end after 3 years of silence, the first song in Deep Purple’s new album Whoosh! is classic rock at its most theatrical: think Javert at the barricades with elements of Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell. Drama aside though, ‘Throw my Bones’, despite its ghoulish name, poses a thoroughly relatable question: why should I leave my comfort zone and walk into the terrifying “great unknown”?

“As perhaps a homage of sorts to Pink Floyd, the lunar-themed track ‘Power of the Moon’ borrows heavily from the psychedelic rock of Deep Purple’s early years”.

Some old rock bands really don’t age well, but Deep Purple isn’t one of them: quite the opposite, in fact. My guitar playing has moved on from ‘Smoke on the Water’ and, fortunately, so has their music style. This 7th August release, their 21st album, feels fresh yet distinctly Purple, reminiscent of their most successful hits of the early 70s. And the name? Singer Ian Gillan explained it as representing “the transient nature of humanity on earth” when viewed from space. Maybe I’ll use that in one of my philosophy essays.

Defying easy categorisation as well as Earth’s gravity, the band is often said to span several musical genres. Whoosh! does not disappoint, floating around a range of different styles. As perhaps a homage of sorts to Pink Floyd, the lunar-themed track ‘Power of the Moon’ borrows heavily from the psychedelic rock of Deep Purple’s early years. From ‘Drop the Weapon’’s Elvis Costello vibe comes the chaotic chromatics of ‘No need to shout’ which could as easily be by Metallica.  Just to really keep you on your toes, they throw in the energetic riffs and 12-bar blues-style of ‘What the what’, with a Berry-esque showbiz ending that I can definitely picture Marty McFly playing at his parent’s high school dance.

“Given the album’s first track, I thought the conclusion would have similar razzmatazz”.

I’ve been pretty positive about the album so far, but it certainly didn’t have me enthused right from start to finish. Constant time signature changes, such as in ‘Step by step’, felt disjointed and unsettling, although, in all honesty, those never sit right with me in other heavy metal songs. Similarly, the last three songs in the album didn’t seem to add much other than unnecessary running length and another round of Spotify ads. They all just sounded very similar to me, and given the album’s first track, I thought the conclusion would have similar razzmatazz. Alas.

The highlight of the album, as far as I am concerned, is a dreamy, fast-paced bop by the name of ‘Nothing at all’. It has a shape and flow to it that very few songs could match: it reminded me, in that sense, of Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’. The lyrics, as is my preference, hit quite hard, continuing the theme of previous songs: that is, the ease of just ignoring the rapid compound time of modern life as it pushes on. Procrastination and avoidance, we’ve all been there, and that’s certainly part of what this song is about. Yet it is also a cheerful one, which make you wonder what the connection between the stress of modern life, perpetual procrastination and enjoyment really are. Maybe those dark, tedious ending songs are just the feeling you get when the object of your procrastination finally can be avoided no longer.

Time to lay all my cards on the table. I had never listened to any Deep Purple (other than Smoke on the Water) before I first heard this album. I’m certainly no metalhead, but those effortless riffs and thoughtful lyrics will definitely be in one of my Spotify playlists.

Featured image: Deep Purple photographed in 1968, via Wikipedia Public Domain.

3 thoughts on “Album Review: Deep Purple – Whoosh!

  • Being a purple fan from day one, Whoosh just proves me right to have chosen this band as a life long assurence that they will not dissapoint.
    Whoosh is up there with “in rock” and Infinite, I would like to thank Bob Ezrin who seems to bring the best out of the band, and thank our lord for Steve Morse.

    Reply
  • I have been a life long fan of this band from 1973 they never really deliver a bad album I even like Bananas. I would just like to comment on the Blackmore vs Steve morse debate. No contest Steve morse is a country mile ahead of Blackmore in the guitar playing debate. I play myself so I no what I am talking about all anybody needs to do is listen to what Steve does and think could Ritchie play that the answer is no. Whoosh is superb end of. Best band in the land bar none.

    Reply
  • DP has a great history to be proud of but I think this album Whoosh is full of amazing material and the production is great. As for Blackmore vs Morse comparison I would say why waste your energy and you will never pick a winner simply because both are wonderful guitar players. No other band in the world had such great talented people playing for them. How about the contribution of Mr Coverdale and Mr Hughes and Mr Turner. DP is the best band in the world full stop and that’s not a fabrication it’s a fact backed by an amazing 21 albums.

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