And now Deep Purple, as always

And now Deep Purple, as always

When i Deep Purple they published “Now what?!”on April 26, 2013, it had been eight years since their album came out and, above all, they had lost their keyboard player less than a year earlier Jon Lord. We remember the anniversary of that release by proposing the review of the album written for us by Andrea Valentini.

“And now!?”… is a legitimate question, as well as a fitting title. Especially if we talk about Deep Purple and their nineteenth studio work. There are at least two reasons: firstly the passing of Jon Lord – who left us on 16 July 2012 – and secondly the fact that, after 45 years of legend, perhaps (and I say perhaps) a minimum desire to take it easy and stop with the routine of albums and promotional tours, maybe there is. Well, Lord's death is unfortunately an event destined to bring psychological repercussions, but probably not musical ones: the keyboard player, in fact, had no longer played with the band since 2002, replaced by Don Airey. As for the tiredness… it's probably making itself felt, but if we digress a little – it took us eight years to release “Now what?!” – it is surmountable. So Deep Purple, implicitly, answers the question of the title quickly and well: “And now!?”… “Now Deep Purple, as always”.

All this to say, if we want to be more direct, that the band is there – it is present to itself, well oiled, lucid and rich in that awareness typical of wise men and experienced men.

With “Now what?!” the band undoubtedly has no intention of selling us as a return to youth or a pathetic attempt to play those who never grow old. Far from it. The impression is that of a band that has reached a balance despite everything: despite the weight of the legend, despite the problems, despite the losses, despite life and despite the merciless passage of time (you know, as with dogs and cats, rockers' years are calculated differently than human ones… think about how many regular years a 45-year career can equate to!). The Deep Purple of 2013, therefore, present themselves as introspective rockers, while evoking the atmospheres of their “classic” era in a rather convincing way: they re-propose their formula with masterly grace and lightness. It is the grace of those who have lived and perfected an art; the exuberance and the edge of the weapons have faded, but this does not mean that the things to say and the ability to excite have disappeared.

It is difficult (and perhaps forced) to choose one or more songs, given the variety and substantial solidity of all the compositions. They won't be surprising, new and innovative (after all, those who expect these things from Deep Purple in 2013 probably have their clock stopped at 1969… it's time to change the battery or give it a couple of turns with the crown, right?), but they are undoubtedly Deep Purple and – above all – they are a tribute, who knows how conscious, to the rock music of the last four decades; you can breathe the rock of the Sixties, psychedelia, freakbeat, proto-metal, the hard music of the Seventies, the refined and authorial pop, the neoclassical rock sensibility, the progressive, the commercial rock of the Eighties… It took eight years, therefore, but the result is positive. And as a final farewell to their friend Jon Lord, the band could hardly have done better.