DEEP PURPLE — InFinite (review)

DEEP PURPLE — InFinite album cover Album · 2017 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
So what do you do when one of your all time favourite bands announces that they've got a new album coming out? You get yourself on the preorder list and order the version with the bonus EP, that's what! Deep Purple have remained a favourite band of mine ever since I got into them around the time I was 13 and the MkII reunion was just about to make the news.

The band has had a varied history and changed style a lot since their debut of July 1968. After the reunion album, "Perfect Strangers", Deep Purple struggled with "House of Blue Light", the sacking of Ian Gillan, the Purple Rainbow album "Slaves and Masters" (4/5 DP, 3/5 Rainbow), the re-acquisition of Gillan and the final departure of Ritchie Blackmore. Releases after the phenomenal "Perfect Strangers" were spotty. Then came Steve Morse into the line up and with new blood came a new sound. This is the sound that Deep Purple have kept up more or less since then, even through the retirement of the late great Jon Lord and recruitment of Don Airey, whose Deep Purple family record includes playing in Whitesnake and Rainbow and playing with Nicky Simper in a band called Quartermass II, which also included Mick Underwood on drums (Mick played with Gillan in Gillan and with Gillan and Glover in Episode Six).

A happy band and a fairly stable lineup has still produced some less than marvelous albums, though in my opinion "Bananas" and "Rapture of the Deep" could have been better without the spotty production. For a while it seemed that there would be no more Deep Purple albums with at least one band member stating that albums were dying out and the cost of making them would never be recouped in sales. But then came the remarkable "Now What?!" - remarkable because producer Bob Ezrin got the band to forget about the charts and just make a great album. That 2013 release touched back to 1995's "Purpendicular" while also tapping into some MkI sounds and solos. Deep Purple were almost prog again!

Sooooo, now four years later, the band has released a new heavy and what of it? Well, the boys are back with Bob Ezrin and back in the same studio in Nashville. The first thing you'll notice is that the classic DP sound is intact: heavy rock guitar, swirling and rumbling organ, a solid rhythm section and, of course, Ian Gillan's vocals and wit. The band sound confident and also they sound like they are having a blast. Ian Paice said in an interview that they really have fun making music, and as if to corroborate Paice's sentiments, Roger Glover said in a separate interview that they had so much fun making "Now What?!" that they wanted to make another album. And there's even the possibility that the future may bring yet another album!

The songs are a mix of politically charged messages like "Time for Bedlam" and "Birds of Prey" and a host of rockers with humorous inspirations and lyrics. Gillan delivers the best vocal opening ever on "Hip Boots" with the line, "You can bury up to my knees in shit!", which is all the more effective after the sombre ending to "Time for Bedlam". "One Night in Vegas" is the recounting of a story of a guy who drank too much in Vegas and woke up the next day with a wife. The kicker is that they are still married thirty years later! "Johnny's Band" is a condensed version of the history of all those old classic bands who got a hit song, became famous, went downhill, broke up, and then regrouped decades later to play their old classics. Glover emphasizes that this is not a Purple story. "On Top of the World" has raconteur lyricist Gillan telling an old story about a wild time on the roof of a building in Kuala Lumpur and the anticlimactic conclusion the next day. The final lyrics are spoken and end with, "I made my excuses and left through the door / Stepped into space off the 20th floor / And that's... why I don't like heights no more." We also find that the lyrics have become more profane. After the first three songs, we've heard "shit", "piss", "ass" and "f%#&ing". Gillan says that he used to be an angry young man, but now he's f%#&ing furious. No shit!

I gotta say that after the first listen, I liked the album; after the second I liked it more; and after the third, I just wanted to listen to it again! But I also listened to "Now What?!" once more and there are two things I noticed. The first is that the previous album had longer instrumental passages and came across as more progressive, if showing off your solo and instrumental music writing talent makes you progressive. Both Steve Morse and Don Airey really brought back that early DP atmosphere. "InFinite's" songs are generally shorter with less emphasis on instrumental sections. The other thing that occurred to me was that Steve Morse is not so strongly in the mix, nor does he deliver as much guitar wizardry as he has on past albums. While Don Airey stands out with his flooding organ sweeps, Steve has almost left his trademark shredding at the studio door and instead delivers some less-than-outstanding lead guitar. His solos fit in well with the music, so he's done well there. But there is little this time that affirms his diverse skill on the guitar.

Nevertheless, this is a short and fun, rock out album. It's heavy at times, it's a party at times, and there's always a spot or two that requires you to think a little. This is not going to make Deep Purple chart toppers or even be an album for the history books. But for an old band I think they have delivered a very decent package.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I agree. I like NOW WHAT better. This one is a mixed bag. Great music, bad execution :(

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