Whoosh! Is the 21st studio album released by Deep Purple.
Deep Purple has been at it since the late 60s, with the exception of a hiatus from 1976-1984. In that half century plus, the group has toured the world, recorded countless quality albums that remain the favorites of many a rocker, and even well into old age, the members of the group don’t show any signs of giving up.
Deep Purple’s current lineup has stood since around 2002. This lineup of the group features three classic MK II members – Ian Gillan on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, and Ian Paice on drums (Paice is the only man to appear on all of the band’s albums). The other members of the group include guitarist Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Kansas) who joined the band in the mid 1990s, replacing Ritchie Blackmore, and keyboardist Don Airey (Whitesnake, Rainbow), who replaced original keyboardist Jon Lord around 2002 (Lord died in 2012). The album is produced by Bob Ezrin (KISS, Alice Cooper), who has worked on several of the band’s most recent efforts.
The last decade has been an interesting time for Deep Purple – Now What?!, their 2013 effort, was easily the strongest since 1984’s MK II reunion album, Perfect Strangers. Sadly, the follow-up, 2017’s Infinite, was one of the blandest and least interesting in their catalogue (did we really need yet another band covering “Roadhouse Blues?”) That forgettable record was trumped by One of a Kind, Don Airey’s instant classic of a solo record from 2018. Now, the gang’s back together. But how does Whoosh! measure up?
While Whoosh! doesn’t quite hit the high notes of Now What?!, it’s at least a modest step up from the forgettable Infinite. We get some decent hard-rocking riffs on this record, but the real start of the show is keyboardist Don Airey. I questioned the decision to keep Deep Purple going after the departure of original keyboardist Jon Lord, but Airey once again proves himself one of the best in the business, and the only man worthy to fill Lord’s shoes – no easy task. One listen to “Step By Step” is all the proof you need this guy is the best at what he does. Steve Morse shows off why he’s one of the most underrated axemen in the rock and roll world as well, and Paicey is as reliable behind the drum kit as ever.
That said, the song selection is a bit hit and miss here, though certainly stronger than that of the Infinite record. Noticeably missing are the lengthy rock suites from the band’s heyday (okay, I don’t exactly expect another “Child in Time,” but I would loved to have seen that at least attempted here). I’ve given the album a few listens, and while a few tracks stick, only time will tell if any of them endure as true classics.
If you keep your expectations in check, Whoosh! is a solid enough rock album, though it still falls below the best of what Deep Purple has given the world in the past. Is it time to call it a day? That’s debatable, but there are at least a handful of solid rockers to be had here. As such, Whoosh! garners at least a modest recommendation. Just don’t come in expecting the next Machine Head.