The human brain is weird. We think our memories are so good, but upon reflection and examination we find flaws. Deep Purple might be a classic example. Say the name of the band and people get a good idea of a sound. It’s probably something that is best illustrated by two albums Machine Head and Perfect Strangers. People equate that sort of a hard rocking, organ heavy music as what Deep Purple does, and have always done.
The truth is a lot more complicated. There have been many different lineups of the band and lots of different sounds. From the rather trippy, psychedelically tinged modes of something like Hush, to the almost early Pink Floyd turned heavy sound of Child in Time to the funky era of Burn and Stormbringer, Deep Purple have always experimented and stretched their sound.
So, from that point of view, Whoosh! is a classic Deep Purple release. There are songs here that showcase something closer to that hard-edged, bluesy rocking sound that people generally conjure up when the name Deep Purple is mentioned We’re All the Same in the Dark is a classic example of that.
This album really stretches things out, though, crossing over into some serious progressive rock based zones. The opening modes of the song that follows We’re All the Same… is one such number. That tune is called Nothing At All, and Steve Morse’s guitar work really paints some prog on the canvas a lot of the time. Yet, there are still catchy hooks and some more down to Earth rock built into it, too. They through a full-on 1970s prog instrumental movement into the middle of the number, as well.
The whole set just gels in an interesting way. It seems to be sort of a concept album, but I can’t really connect the dots for that to make sense, though. The blending of classic Deep Purple sound and newer more proggy things works extremely well and keeps it from ever feeling tired or redundant. There are definitely songs and moments that stand out for me.
The almost classical opening of Step by Step is one of those moments. They turn the cut into a killer jam that has neo-classical textures merging with dramatic style and even some hints of things like Dream Theater. Yet, it is still recognizable as Deep Purple, just modernized. It’s one of the highlights of the CD.
What the What has some killer rock and roll piano work and a guitar solo that fits with that style, too. It’s a lot of fun. I love the dramatic and rather mysterious sound of The Power of the Moon. Remission Possible is a screaming hot instrumental that feels like a perfect combination of old school Deep Purple and more modern, nearly Dream Theater like sounds.
My favorite piece of the whole set is Man Alive. It is the most purely progressive rock based piece. It has a wide dynamic range from hard rocking, Purple sounds to Dream Theater like prog and more. There are even some spoken interludes. I haven’t talked about all the songs here, but rather just some cuts that are highlights or unusual for me in some way. Suffice it to say that this thing is a great set from start to finish. It is likely that after time to live with it a bit more, this is probably going to be one of my all-time favorite Deep Purple albums. I’d also say its’ pretty much a given that it will show up in my “best of 2020” list. Gary Hill