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Review: Deep Purple evokes best years on mighty ‘Whoosh!’

Deep Purple, “Whoosh!” (earMUSIC)

“Whoosh!” makes it three-for-three for the pairing of Deep Purple and producer Bob Ezrin, an album that at its numerous heights evokes the band´s most successful era of the early `70s.

With a stable lineup for nearly 20 years, the hard rock pioneers´ new album is built on its best assets: Ian Gillan´s robust vocals, the sturdy foundation set by the rhythm section of Ian Paice and Roger Glover, Steve Morse´s inventive inventory of six-string tones and phrasings, and Don Airey´s Hammond A-100.

An album´s first song is not necessarily its first single, but “Throw My Bones,” which is both, is aural candy of the first order and a magnificent reintroduction after the three-year break since the previous studio effort, “Infinite.”

“Drop the Weapon,” a call for de-escalation and wise choices; “We´re All the Same In the Dark,” a tongue-in-cheek, slightly desperate pick-up line; the decibel-denouncing “No Need to Shout”; and the haunting “Step By Step” all keep the needles in or near the red.

Even among top-notch individual performances and the ensemble´s cohesion, Airey´s keyboard excellence stands out and his and Morse´s Bach-like runs on power ballad “Nothing at All” — with plenty more potency than balladry — are magnificent.

As for instrumental “And the Address,” is Deep Purple really saying goodbye or is its place in the running order, and the mere fact that it was re-recorded, only a tease in the way the Beatles fed the “Paul is dead” rumors with clues in songs supposedly confirming his premature demise? After all, the group’s 2017-2019 tour was called “The Long Goodbye” but concerts are planned, post-pandemic, behind this album, as well.

Written by the two members of Deep Purple´s towering “Mark II” lineup missing from the current roster, Ritchie Blackmore and the late Jon Lord, “And the Address” is the last song on the album, but for a bonus track. It was also the first tune on the band´s 1968 debut, “Shades of Deep Purple,” so is it just a coincidence or are they completing the circle and really drawing the shades on their career?

Any ensemble still willing and able to emulate its best years shouldn´t call it quits after an album as good as “Whoosh!” — unless Deep Purple wants to go out on a peak.

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