Deep Purple – Infinite

Deep Purple - InfiniteWith InfiniteDeep Purple releases their twentieth and likely last album before embarking on an extensive farewell tour. We take a look.

One after another, the legendary rock bands of yesteryear are dying off, with either advanced age or death as the reason. Well past retirement age, it’s a small miracle Deep Purple is still here at all, with a plethora of lineup changes in the past. Still, they’ve kept on truckin’ since 1968, and 2013’s Now What?! album was arguably their best since 1984’s Perfect Strangers. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it was a tight collection of perfectly good rock songs, playing on the strengths of the individual band members. For Infinite, the band once again headed into the studio with Ezrin at the helm, and the result is an album that might very well be a little bit better yet.

It’s a shame then that Infinite is being touted as being Purple’s last album. Of course, we could have seen it coming, with the average age of these guys creeping up to seventy, but it’s a bitter pill all the same. Especially with Infinite being as good as it is. Opener – and first single – Time for Bedlam is a right kick in the teeth in that respect. A heavy rocker with great riffing, a good solo spot for Steve Morse and a searing Hammond organ courtesy of Don Airey. Deep Purple is back, and even if this turns out to be for one last round, it shows the old dog has some spirit left in it still.

Deep Purple

Time for Bedlam also sets the tone for an album that is both more varied and more coherent than Now What?! Now, if that sounds paradoxical, it’s because it is. But the ten songs on Infinite gel a little better together than the songs on its predecessor, and after the first few spins it feels like a stronger album for it. Bedlam segues into the bluesy Hip Boots, delivering a funky blues rock latter-day Purple seems to enjoy and do well. Following that is classic rocker All I Got Is You, and that’s about the way the rest of the album goes. Heavier, rocking tracks are followed by more spontaneous sounding, lighter fare, and it makes for a more versatile album, always trying and succeeding in keeping you interested.

The undeniable stars of Infinite are Don Airey on keyboards and Steve Morse, draping the songs with one sweet guitar lick or solo after the other. The weakest link, once again, is Ian Gillan, who is more and more getting the tendency of half-talking his way through otherwise perfectly fine material and sounding like he just does not care anymore. Yes, the man is 71, but there is zero conviction in his voice for most of the record and he frankly sounds like he phoned the bulk of the material in. Good case in point here is the rather superfluous The Doors cover Roadhouse Blues. A fine song on its own, even if this isn’t the best version of it I’ve ever heard, but Gillan manages to take a fine, fun song and turn it into a boring slog by talking his way through it rather than singing and sounding like he’d rather be somewhere else doing something else.

Still, niggles aside, there’s much to enjoy on Infinite, and the good definitely outweighs the bad by miles. And luckily, Gillan’s vocals are serviceable most of the time. Johnny’s Band is a fun song, Get Me Outta Here has some quite heavy riffing and Birds of Prey is one of the best songs Purple has written this side of Perfect Strangers. And when Ian Gillan suddenly decides to give a fuck about what he’s doing, you can hear a glimpse of the powerhouse vocalist he was back in the seventies. Pare that with some truly standout songs and you’ve still got yourself a killer album. That’s why it’s such a shame that this is very likely the last studio album these guys ever put out. Infinite sports some standout material and one can only imagine what a third round in the studio with Ezrin could bring forth. Mandatory album for fans of quality classic rock, and you will be able to catch the band live on their The Long Goodbye tour.

Release: out now
Label: earMUSIC

Track listing:

  1. Time for Bedlam
  2. Hip Boots
  3. All I Got Is You
  4. One Night in Vegas
  5. Get Me Outta Here
  6. The Surprising
  7. Johnny’s Band
  8. On Top of the World
  9. Birds of Prey
  10. Roadhouse Blues

Lineup:

  • Ian Gillan – lead vocals, harmonica
  • Steve Morse – guitar, vocals
  • Roger Glover – bass
  • Don Airey – keyboards
  • Ian Paice – drums

Further surfing:

Review by Ralph Plug

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One thought on “Deep Purple – Infinite

  1. Pingback: Sounds from the Dark Side top albums of 2017 (until now) | soundsfromthedarkside

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