Album review: DEEP PURPLE – Purpendicular (reissue)

Deep Purple - Purpendicular

Hear No Evil Recordings [Release date 16.06.14]

Deep Purple’s current album ‘Now What?!’ was a favourite of 2013, and ‘Purpendicular’ shows its blood line: the very first Purple album with guitarist Steve Morse in 1996.  As ever it captures the band’s trademark musical interplay and highly accessible hard rock.

If it would take Morse a little longer to bed in, fans would have noted the high guitar quotient.  He was, and is, a more predictable player than Blackmore but – as this album demonstrates – as fluid and inventive in his own way.  And to his credit he never tried to be another Blackmore, even when stepping into Ritchie’s well worn size 9′s.

From the lively opener ‘Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic’ via the darker ‘Loosen My Strings’ with its pneumatic bassline, to the more folksy ‘The Aviator’ Purpendicular is a great summary of this durable band in the late-1990s and heading for the new millennium.

 ’Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming’ (included also as a single edit) is outstanding with a particularly distinctive Morse chorus whilst ‘Rosa’s Cantina’ is unusually funky, ‘A Touch Away’ a great slice of soft-rock that also betrays Morse’s Dixie Dregs upbringing.

As ever, the inevitable  Malcolm Dome liner note adds little to our knowledge that couldn’t be gleaned from a good Purple biography or the Internet.  We know now that there was a great vibe in the band with Morse’s arrival and improved band relationships. Thanks Malcolm.

This reissue adds the aforementioned single edit and the Japan only bonus ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’.  The period after Blackmore’s departure in late-1993 is often dismissed by even the fans but, with hindsight, ‘Purpendicular’ shows a band getting themselves back together and confirming they still have a future.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


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