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We listen to the new album, part 2 =1

Thanks to the fine folks at earMUSIC, The Highway Star is reviewing Deep Purple’s new album =1 in segments ahead of its July 19 release date. Since the first segment, the band has spoiled us with no less than three new songs in their live set; the single Portable Door, A Bit on the Side (already reviewed) and Bleeding Obvious, which is the album’s very intense closing song. More on that eventually.

3 – Sharp Shooter opens with a gritty, dirty bluesy riff over an infectuous mid-tempo shuffle. Ian Paice’s busy hi-hat pushes the song forward, and the swagger and groovy swing will set your dimples alight.

Ian Gillan is let loose with another colourful story told through subtle innuendo and brilliantly reimagined clichés. Check out the photo above. Gillan and Roger Glover sketching out plays on words over tea in a shady Portugese garden. Oh to be a fly on the wall …

“You’re just another sharp shooter, with your finger on the trigger, you’re aiming at this big head of mine. And from there you can’t miss, the only trouble is, I have to put you in line.” The self-assured storyteller doesn’t miss a beat. “You’re my baby face assassin with your weapons of seduction, you get me sooner or not.” The joys of Gillan and Glover penned lyrics in full creative flow.

“I’ve got friends in louder places,” exclaims Gillan before Airey flies off into a classic Moog-style flurry that’ll brighten your day – before McBride is given free reign – within the song’s structure, and it’s all good fun and happy energies.

Rich ooh-aah backing vocals add to an uplifting semi-naughty party atmosphere, and while this song may not be breaking new territory, the craftmanship is beyond competition with accentuations left and right to keep your ears busy.

4 – Portable Door was unleashed on us as the album’s first single, and as such we won’t spend too much time on it here. Being our first glimpse of the new Simon McBride’d line-up, the single set a high standard and offered promise of a solid and altogether amazing album.

The song sports a strong, heavy groove, a catchy melody and a ton of instrumental intent. It gallops along with good-humoured lyrics and solos to punch the air for – before it gathers itself and climaxes with an effective and proper ending. Yay!

5 – Old-fangled Thing ups the ante yet another notch. What were they drinking?! Over an uptempo and intense keyboards and guitar riff, Gillan delivers another story with telling lyrics and lyrical vocals.

“It was hot steamy night, I was drinking on my own, just me and my guitar, the bottle’s empty except for the record of you, then along came you.”

Don’t be fooled by words reminiscent of an old blues standard. This one’s got a sweaty swing, plenty of lifted accents, and a bridge with backing vocals that mean business.

Suddenly there’s a half tempo break before a surprise spicy left turn, and during the bridge, Gillan sings with the mad conviction of a wrongly convicted deathrow convict. Ferocious!

Then McBride’s guitar takes over with a strong long noted solo in a very becoming contrast to the otherwise very busy backing track. Possibly an Ezrin request. Thank you!

After another verse we’re into a different break and a different left turn backing the organ solo. Woah. It’s all a bit reckless and intense yet tightly controlled. Sounds like fun!

Gillan goes for a long wailing scream as the backing lift and lifts and boom! We’re done. Such a blast and yet another highlight! You couldn’t make this stuff up – and yet it’s exactly what they did in that Toronto studio (see photo above). Such a delight.

This takes us five songs into the album’s 13 tracks, and when we continue (before long, promise) there’s a grandiose orchestral ballad on the horizon, I kid you not!

Read the first segment of this review.

20 Comments to “We listen to the new album, part 2 =1”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Rasmus the Great! Tusind tak!!!


  2. 2
    David Black says:

    Uwe. All is right with the world and Rasmus

  3. 3
    Thorsun says:

    I will be extremely curious to see how the THS community rates the “Portable Door” AFTER the album is unleashed. With it’s pictures-of-by-numbers idea, I hope it’s the weakest one. With other three so far revealed, I say – it is. “Bleeding Obvious” – even on lousy cellphone films appeals awesome – combining best of “Rapture of the Deep” and “Before Time Began”. And the middle with IG deploying his beautiful singing middle register there is just fab. So why there wouldn’t be more, right?

    Numbers 3 & 5 – sounds like they are going to raise eyebrows and hearts, both up to the sky. Great.

    Such joy, I could almost diet!

  4. 4
    Tony says:

    Yesterdag I saw Purple at Graspop Belgium.

    They played Bleeding Obvious and to be honest it was’t live that great.
    Gillans voice was somethines not that good, but….. it’s still Deep Purple and surely
    worth the money to see them live.

    Simon played a great solo before Uncommon man. Don was also great and little Ian and Roger…..great…. ( no need to shout ).

  5. 5
    DeepOz says:

    A “grandiose orchestral ballad”, intriguing.

  6. 6
    Thorsun says:


    It’s obvious that the new material might not sit instantly with everyone, especially live – when it’s not as polished as the studio version. Still the track is very good – busy, adventurous and pretty progressive. Certainly it declares – “We’re not sitting on laurels yet” and it makes me happy for them.

  7. 7
    David Black says:

    I don’t think there has ever been a DP album that hasn’t required several listens to be fully appreciated. I recall listening to BRO for the first time and not “getting it” until Ramshackle Man but retrospectively love BRO, Anya, TAL all of which on first listen I didn’t think were strong (oh and I know i’m in the minority on TAL which I think is a track that no other band could have conceived – much like Wierdistan, another track I think is genius)

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Deep Purple will never rest ON their laurels. With biology being what it is and their continued undiluted commitment to touring the world, their next resting place – and long may their arrival there be delayed – will be UNDERNEATH the laurels if anything. 😎


  9. 9
    Dr. Bob says:

    Looking forward to hearing some dirty blues.

  10. 10
    Max says:

    Here’s a little reminder for those who can’t wait for the =1 release: “Contractual Obligation”…the live album by Ian Gillan and the Don Airey Band with one Simon McBride on guitar has 2/3 of the current DP line up playing a handful of songs from DP, Gillan and more and is quite enjoyable at it. And while there’s no IP or RG, Ian Gillan’s daughter Grace more than makes up for it.

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    From (distant) memory, David @7, the most immediate and instantly captivating DP albums for me were MH and Burn. I heard them both in the Summer of 1975, I didn’t own them (I then owned Shades, Taliesyn, In Rock & Stormbringer a weird mix, I know! 😂), but I was in love with these two records at first listen, every song. Back then I didn’t even register the line-up variations, I simply latched onto the roaring guitar/organ twin ‘gorgan’ work, that to me was DP.

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    @ 11- “Back then I didn’t even register the line-up variations, I simply latched onto the roaring guitar/organ twin ‘gorgan’ work, that to me was DP.” And there we have it ladies & gentlemen, carved into stone & signed, sealed & delivered by Uwe. Poor ole Paicey, all that swing & everything. Oh well not too worry. Cheers.

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I lied about my age:

    Now you’re being mean, Tasmanian, I was only 14, but I registered Paicey too and would often air-drum with him together. He was a busy drummer, but (or hence?) extremely entertaining. Back in 1975, the one instrument I did not hear so well yet was the bass guitar, especially Glenn on the Burn album. I would of course make amends for that later in life.

  14. 14
    David Black says:

    @11 Indeed Uwe but I only heard MH after I’d heard “$CP & MIJ so the only “instant” track for me was POH. MIAL isn’t an “instant” track IMO.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    What does ‘$CP’ stand for? 24 Carat Purple? I only bought that to get the frantic live version of Black Night otherwise unavailable at the time. I never liked the cover art of it, it had “budget issue” (likely an attempt to echo the gold frame of the MIJ cover of which it took the most songs) written all over it. A weird release at the time as it basically came out when Mk III dissolved, yet only featured Mk II material.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    (Painted) Horses for courses: I always found Maybe I’m A Leo’s groovy vibe infectuous! Jon’s keyboard solo especially. It’s a real deep cut to me. Something that wouldn’t have been out of place on Stormbringer had DC and Glenn sung it. Roger wasn’t devoid of all funk.

  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    The ‘other’ songs on Machine Head are grand for me. Very good songs indeed, often over shadowed by the ‘classics’ but that happens with many artists. Leo, Pictures & Never Before, wonderful. 24 Carat Purple, yes I owned that also on vinyl. I still don’t know why I actually purchased that album. Powerhouse was a good buy as it had other songs on it, previously unavailable & different versions & live etc. 24 $Carat indeed, it sure lured me to the carrot & took my cash as well. Not to worry. Cheers.

  18. 18
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Being – of course – a lesser man than Rasmus and surrounded by humble circumstances, I have so far only had access to the recently released EP with Pictures Of You and Portable Door + the two Italian live tracks. What I can say is that Ezrin’s production sounds great – organic and gutsy – and that Litte Ian’s drum sound is in fine sonic shape. On the EP, Pictures and Portable merge into another (the mellow ending of Pictures being the joint) and that works just great.

    The production of the live tracks (WABMC and Uncommon Man) is great too.

  19. 19
    David Black says:

    @15. Yes i thought i’d written 24CP but obviously I didn’t! My first DP purchase for £3.24 from Rayners record shop in Bristol in 1979. A fabulous introduction to the band.

  20. 20
    Jeogger Matthews says:


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