Less deep purple than a pleasant mauve. Ageing headbangers will note a lack of the freneticism that distinguished Fireball and ‘Highway Star’. But by the same token they may be relieved that there are no six-minute drum solos, songs about the devil, or Jon Lord demonstrating that he can hammer the organ fairly quickly for an unimaginably long time.
Instead you have extremely well played 1980s arena rawk — think Guns N’ Roses with a touch of prog thrown in. And decent tunes that do not outstay their welcome — Ian Gillan always was a catchy mofo, however ludicrously vaudevillian his vocals may be. This is not quite the, er, ‘classic’ Deep Purple — no Ritchie Blackmore or Jon Lord, for reasons of uninterest and death, respectively. But Paice, Gillan and Glover are still on sprightly form.
Gillan has decided he’s a wise old man and offers what I assume he thinks is sage social commentary. A mistake, in my book. He did so once before on the execrable ‘Mary Long’ off Who Do We Think We Are. When presented with the open goal that was Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford, he put the ball over the bar and into the next county. This time, hilariously, he lectures young black kids: ‘Little brother, I’m tellin’ you now…/ Drop the weapon…/ Drop your blade.’ They’ll really dig that in the hood, Ian.
‘No Need to Shout’ is a fine slab of hard rock, while ‘Throw My Bones’ is borne aloft by stadium power chords. Scarcely a dull track. How depressing that in their seventies they are much, much better at this kind of thing than, say, Kasabian.