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By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 @ 12:14 AM

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earMusic, 2020

When British heavy rock icons DEEP PURPLE released their 20th studio album inFinite and embarked on what was dubbed “The Long Goodbye Tour“ in 2017, there was little doubt that the album would be PURPLE‘s swan song and that the end of one of the gratest eras in the history of rock music was nigh. In interviews, singer Ian Gillan, drummer Ian Paice, guitarist Steve Morse, bassist Roger Glover, and organist/keyboardist Don Airey repeatedly mentioned the likelihood of their looming retirement any time soon.

But – Whoosh! – it ain‘t over yet. The band‘s 21st studio album was released on August 7 after the original release date, which would have been June 12, was postponed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the previous two albums, Now What?! and inFinite, Whoosh! was produced by Bob Ezrin in Nashville, TN. On the new release, as well as on the previous two, Ezrin got PURPLE to do what they do best, namely be spontaneous. All three albums preserve a distinct live feel, an element of improvisation and thus an extremely fresh approach to the recorded material. Thus DEEP PURPLE sound very much alive and authentic on all three albums.

The latest part of what is in fact a triad is soundwise the most mellow one, but, as the sticker on the wrapping around the limited edition says, “putting the DEEP back into PURPLE“, the 12 tracks (plus the funky bonus track “Dancing in My Sleep“) have a musical and sonic depth that is worthy of the name DEEP PURPLE.

The opener “Throw My Bones“, previously released as a single, sets the tone of the album: the grooving and earthy main riff could be on any of the classic albums like In Rock or Machine Head – or on any of the previous two albums, for that matter. The orchestral keyboard sounds give the track the epic depth PURPLE have developed on on their last albums. Singer Ian Gillan – soon to be 75 years of age – sounds as great as ever. The days of his soaring signature screams are long over, of course, but his voice has matured like a fine wine rather than aged. The lyrics are full of Gillan‘s clever wordplay and the interaction of the music and the words are masterful.

DEEP PURPLE set highlight after highlight on Whoosh!. This is not just a legendary band showing off their signature writing and performance qualities, this is simply world class rock music of unparalleled mastership. To single out just a few of the many highlights on the album, check out the the rhythm changes on “Drop the Weapon“ and the good-time rock ‘n‘ roller “Nothing at All“, tainted in a 1950s feel as much as in prog elements. Kudos to Don Airey and Steve Morse for the solo parts: velocity completely in the service of the song, each note counts, each note says something in these instrumental dialogues. And is the opening organ chord on “No Need to Shout“ reminiscent of “Perfect Strangers“ or what? However, this shuffle rocker of a song goes into a totally different direction and with its choir it is more along the lines of “Hell to Pay“ off Now What?!. The spooky sort of organ first heard on “Vincent Price“ returns on the steady groover “Step by Step“. The speedy rocker “The Long Way Round“ features once again Steve Morse's sublime and virtuoso guitar playing – soaring, melodic, but expressive and totally mesmerising.

The closer on Whoosh!, “And The Address“, is a bit of a surprise as this instrumental was the very first piece of music composed by Ritchie Blackmore and the late great Jon Lord for DEEP PURPLE and first appeared on the debut of DEEP PURPLE Mark I, Shades of Deep Purple in 1968. The only band member to play on both recordings, by the way, is drummer Ian Paice. With the re-recording of the track for the band‘s 2020 studio album, DEEP PURPLE Mark VIII have gone full circle. But let‘s not get fooled again: Whoosh! is the third leg of DEEP PURPLE‘s journey with Bob Ezrin and, judging from the freshness of the album and the creativity this and the previous two albums burst with, there is more to come.

Whoosh! is the most refined of the albums of the Bob Ezrin era and DEEP PURPLE have reached a stage of mastership that is unprecedented in the history of rock music. No doubt, this is a legendary album and will once be counted among the classics of rock music.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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