To me Deep Purple was always best when Ian Gillan was the lead singer, without him it didn’t quite sound like Purple and even though the other members of the band was kind of irreplaceable as well, they weren’t. “Wooosh!” is the 14:th album with Gillan on vocals and on half of these albums Steve Morse is the guitarist and even though he is very far from the style of Blackmore he fits the band like a hand in a glove. The same goes for the late Jon Lord’s replacement Don Airey who have been with the band since 2003. Still it would be unfair for several reasons to compare Deep Purple today with the original MK II:s first four studio albums when they were pioneers in Heavy Rock in the early seventies. Today’s line up is more about a Heavy Groove than Heavy Rock, but still with great compositions.
The Morse era actually couldn’t have started better than with the excellent “Purpendicular” from 1996, almost 25 years ago. Unfortunately, the next album “Abandon” was a big disappointment. Then the next two albums “Bananas” and “Rapture of the Deep”, who were also the first with Don Airey in the band, didn’t impress me that much either. Not that I didn’t like them when I listened to them, I just never get the urge to put them on. Then something happened in 2013, enter the amazing producer Bob Ezrin and Deep Purple released their first album in eight years. “Now What?!” was in my book the bands best album since the first break up of MK II. “Infinite” from 2017 was equally good, but in a different way. The former was more even while the latter had more prominent top songs.
So now it is 2020 and with a third release in a row produced by Ezrin, the result is “Wooosh!” Long before the release we got a couple of tracks to stream. The first one from way back in March was the albums opening track “Throw My Bones” which sounded very promising. This is a great song in the same style as the band has had more or less on all the albums since the reformation in the eighties but still better and with more interesting arrangements than most of the songs on those albums. Midtempo with a suggestive feeling.
A second song “Man Alive” was released in May, track 11 on the album, and this was something quite different. A very mysterious and suggestive slow but intensive and exiting, kind of heavy track. It even gets away with some spoken parts without losing interest and I love it. A perfect song to listen to in earphones.
Then in July we got a third song “Nothing at All”, the fourth track on the album, and this time I wasn’t as impressed. Not that it was a bad song, it’s just a bit repetitious and not all that exiting. Apart from the excellent soloing between Morse and Airey, that is. Still a good song.
So, now with the album finally released on August 7, we get to hear all the other songs as well. I have been listening very much to the album these last couple of days. My first impression wasn’t that good, but as most great albums the album grows on you for each listening.
The second track on the album “Drop the weapon” is an ok modern Purple song. Lots of groove and great solos, but not much more. The same can be said of the third track “We’re All The Same In The Dark“, only not as good.
On “No Need To Shout” we finally get a good hard rock riff but apart from that and the solos this song is not much better than the three previous songs after “Throw My Bones”. Maybe the vocals remind me a bit of the band Gillan in the verses. The refrain is the weakest so far…
On “Step By Step” the mysterious and suggestive Purple is back again and even though the music is a bit laid back it’s still very exciting and very good. I really like this new direction the band takes on these kinds of songs. Excellent track!
Now it’s time for the album’s stinker, at least for those of us who don’t like old time pub rock’n’roll. No, “What the What” is not my cup of tea and I must skip it every time I listen to the album. Not even the solos excite me.
So far, “Whooosh!” hasn’t impressed me all that much even though the songs are mostly quite good, but the next part of the album is in my opinion much better.
Track eight, “The Long Way Round” is the “hardest” song so far with a pretty fast galloping verse driven by Glover and Paice. A very good song.
Next up is “The Power Of The Moon“, another of these mysterious and suggestive songs that I love so much. Wonderful melodies and an almost eerie instrumental part with excellent solos that fits the mood perfectly from both Morse and Ariey.
“Remission Possible” is a short instrumental with impressive drive and intense soloing. This song really is an intro to the excellent “Man Alive” that I have already written about. Love it.
The second last track on the album is somewhat surprising the instrumental “And The Address”, a song that the band actually also recorded for their debut album “Shades of Deep Purple” from 1968. Without comparing the two versions I really like this song.
The album ends with “Dancing In My Sleep” a song that also starts mysterious and suggestive but then changes to an almost funky riff. Lots of groove and great soloing, again. This is probably the song that has grown most on me, even though it’s not one of the standout tracks on the album.
All in all, apart from “What the What” I like this album very much even though it is a bit uneven. The standout tracks actually deserve the highest grade. I think that this and the two previous albums produced by Ezrin are the bands best albums since the MK II breakup in the seventies and at this moment “Whooosh!” is probably the best of them, but that may change when some more time has passed.
Band: Deep Purple
Date of release: August 7, 2020
Stand out tracks: “Step By Step” “The Long Way Round” “The Power Of The Moon” and “Remission Possible/Man Alive”