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Purpendicular Waltz
From: span@hyper.gr (stathis panagiotopoylos)
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 09:27:44 GMT

Before anything else, I have to tell you that I've only listened to the thing about 3 times. I'll try to go through it track-by-track, but first here's what the new Purple album is NOT : It's not simple, it's not jukebox music or pop or AOR by any stretch of the imagination, and it's not like any other Purple album. It's not a predictable album, in that if you listen to it with a pre-conceived idea of what the new Purple album would sound like, you're gonna be wrong. It's also not the standard riff-driven thing that Purple do. What is it, then? It's a damn good *progressive* rock album, it's fresh, very strong on musicianship, it's got the mark of Steve Morse very apparent playing-wise and writing-wise. The emphasis is not on riffs so much as in melodies. It's so different I think it's safe to say that it's really Purple for the 90s. New rhythms, patterns and sounds that, as far as I know, have never surfaced in any Purple album. You'll be surprised. Pleasantly so, I think.

So let's go through it :

VAVOOM: TED THE MECHANIC. The first surprise, even for those of us who've heard live versions. An almost funky beat, the star of the show here is Paicey, a jaunty, lively number that's got lots of nice guitar work and a BEAUTIFUL quiet middle section.

LOOSEN MY STRINGS. A mid-tempo rocker with guitar/keyboard harmonies, a great vocal performance and an ending which is so beautiful it should fade out half an hour later!

SOON FORGOTTEN. Unlike the live version, this starts with fat big, almost off-beat hammond chords and develops into what must be one of the 2-3 best overall songs. Now that the recording is clear and I've had the chance to decipher the lyrics...wow! Definitely NOT a case of "stupid lyrics ruin a great song" to rephrase a popular thread around these parts ;-)

SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE SCREAMING. For me, THE best song of the album. Starts quietly, Gillan sings in a low register and you'd be tempted to think that this is the ballad, but then the hammond swells, Morse rages and Gillan raises his voice into a chorus that made me cry with pleasure-this is the stuff! Power, melody, dynamics, musicianship, this is DEEP PURPLE, simply the BEST BAND EVER-bar none! Come the second chorus and there's double-tracked vocals, lyrics in the foreground, screams in the background, what a rush!

CASCADES: I'M NOT YOUR LOVER. A fast-paced rocker, the fastest thing on the tape. A good song, but not one of the highlights, which is true also of...

THE AVIATOR (previoulsy known as The Highland), this is Deep Purple (almost) unplugged, with acoustic guitar and piano, but I think I preferred the all-instrumental version.

Side two of the tape, and it's ROSA'S CANTINA. Wow! Percussive hammond that brings to mind Hush, a funky tempo, harmonica, an organ solo that could very well belong to any self-respecting rave party! (I kid you not). Methinks this is an obvious choice for airplay. This is so unusual, so fresh, so exciting! A goodie.

A CASTLE FULL OF RASCALS is an angular, elaborate mid-tempo song, I think it's the one that's got the more Morse influence of all. Reminds me a bit of Nasty Piece Of Work, not in terms of actual resemblance, but in terms of attitude. Another goodie.

A TOUCH AWAY is the one track I didn't like. Not that I disliked it, either, it just left me cold. It's mid-tempo again, melodic, sort of what Toto would do (I like Toto very much) with Ian G. on vocals. I suppose it's very radio-friendly, and it may grow on me.

Back to the highlights with HEY CISCO, a fast Lazy-type blues/c&w shuffle (again, I kid you not!) which has a GREAT melody, especially in the chorus. Here, again, Morse shines out with a breathtaking solo-I forgot to say that all over the album Morse's playing is flawless, he shows many sides of his musicianship, and avoids any trace of metal "shredding" type playing which I consider good. I've listened to both Satriani's and Morse's work way before they were involved with Purple, and I can safely say that Morse is a much better choice for a permanent guitarist than Satriani would ever be.

SOMEBODY STOLE MY GUITAR (is this written by Blackmore? As I recall, it's his guitar that was stolen at the Hammersmith Apollo :-) is the only true riff-driven song of the album, and a good riff it is too, gives the song a classic British rock feel-even has cowbell in the verses!

Last, but by no means least, is the PERPENDICULAR WALTZ. Starts off with harmonica, the arrangement is much better thatn the live versions, and this is, folks, a GRAND song. It's all the majesty, for lack of a better word, that Purple always personified for me. Definitely a highlight.

In all, it's 63 very good minutes. If I had to give it a rating, I'd give it an 8 out of 10. I liked the Rainbow album quite a bit, but this is truly a group effort, it's much closer to my tastes in music, and because it's become a fad to compareg Rainbow to Purple around here lately, I'd say that Purple have indeed lost a very creative force but gained another, just as creative, but *different* I'm only too happy to follow two band sinstead of one :-) An expanded review will follow in the next issue of Purple Press.

Definitely ;-)

Stathis N. Panagiotopoulos
Deep Purple Appreciation Society, Greece
Sometimes feel like screaming...

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