[ d e e p P u r . p l e )
The Highway Star

1. Any Fule Kno That. Contrary to Purpendicular which open with Steve's riff to Ted, Abandon opens with Jon and little Ian setting a groove that will run through the album. It's a bit "Slang"-ish in that the groove reaches a little deeper than usual and neither pop nor metal. Definitely the strongest song on the album (although the middle of 7th Heaven comes close).

2. Almost Human -

3. don't make me happy - a smouldering dirge that almost catches fire at times. Complete with a cheeky Blackmore-esque twiddle at the end. My edition of this is in mono. Which is kinda cool in a retro jazz club kind of way. Then again it could just be a cock-up.

4. 7th Heaven. lovely interwoven cascading intro, blasts into, well pretty much the riff from castle full of rascals. Then, out with the Valium, as the vocals cut in. Nice understated solo, starts clean and gentle but then wanders off into typical Morse distortion/harmonic hell. Or heck. From the gentle intro to the Morse/Lord tangent, this has the makings of a Speed King replacement

5. Watching the sky: another thundering intro riff with a tasty organ splash at the end, leading into echoey vocals and gentle banjo. "I sit here alone and look at the wall". Gillan composing on the potty again? "I walked away from the fury, and the madness. And the fury. And the madness. Woaaahhhhhh!". Yeah.

6. Fingers to the bone. Hmmm, more lyrics to deconstruct. Hiking banjo players? Gillan firing his own band? Getting suspended from Purple himself? Nice jangly guitar in the background. A very Morse-ish construction musically. Oooh! The harmonica gets a look in too, over Jon's haunting piano break.

7. Jack Ruby. A shuffle with a kind of Rat Bat Blue feel to it.

Now we come to the songs that, while good and other bands would kill for, could easily have been left off since they don't necessarily contribute that much more in any direction. However, all credit in that the temptation to wander off in indulgent direction has been resisted in favour of more hard grooving rock.

8. She Was - Who? Catchy hook. Spacey middle bit. A strobe job if it's done live perhaps.

9. Whatshername - She's back in town apparently. Whoever she is.

10. '69 - More reminiscences of throwing the naked thunder to the crowd back then. OK, this isn't a throwaway. I like it. '69 must have been one hell of a year for these guys since they refer back to it so often! Catchy chorus: "69, 69, 69, 69"!

11. Evil Louie - Another heavy "growling riff, soaring chorus, Steve solo" rinse and repeat.

12. Bludsucker - This kicks bottom! This takes Led Zep's "Whole Lotta Love" and pisses all over the smouldering remains.

As for individual performances, don't expect ground-breaking virtuosity of the kind you'd get in something like Steve's "Stressfest" or Jon and Steve duelling on stage. This is a band on a band thing. Expect Glover and Paice grooving hard, expect Steve throwing out that vocal, dirty sound as necessary, expect Jon's mighty organ to emit roaring, growling solos and chunking backing constantly, expect Gillan to be, well, Gillan: incomparable.

Overall, despite a lack of long solos (that's what tours are for I guess), my man of the match is Jon. His was the sound and the moustache that got me into Purple in the first place and the Hammond sound is back. Paicey is solid in defence, his sound from the old days most emphatically back, loose, grooving, the best there is. Most Understated Performance must go to Roger. He's there, but not as up front as we're used to these days. Again, cometh the tour, cometh the man.

Overall, at least a seven out of ten. Probably more after I've had a chance to belt out a CD cut loudly since this whole album, like Cascades from Purpendicular just screams to be loud.


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