Deep Purple — Purpendicular
(CMC 0607686201-2, 1996, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1997-10-01
No one should need an introduction to this group, probably one of the most famous of 70s hard rock groups. Deep Purple, in their early days, were quite innovative in the format, shaping and defining a style that a host of bands would emulate; yet, most of their output is far away from the Mellotrons 'n' costumes music that was a distinct parallel path to albums like Machine Head or Burn. Therefore, you're probably wondering why this is being included in the pages of Exposé. Well, the "classic" line-up of the mid-70s is here, except Ritchie Blackmore, which means Jon Lord's chunky Hammond and Ian Gillan's powerful voice. Blackmore's replacement here is none other than Steve Morse, a worthy replacement for any aging rock group. Unfortunately, Morse's guitar playing isn't quite as interesting as you'd expect, with pseudo-Dokken squawks and squeals, his tone is far too cheesy-metalloid for my tastes. This album is much in the same vein as 1984's Perfect Strangers, with many well-written rock songs that fit the definition of mainstream to the best meaning of the word. There are rockers, there are ballads, and there are more acoustic guitar oriented pieces (hints of Led Zeppelin here) that break up the album nicely. For those of us, with largely experimental tastes, this album is probably not worth the effort (you didn't need me to tell you that) yet those into that 70s straight rock sound should warm up to this quickly.
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