Has any band gone nearly 50 years with such integrity? The only original member left is drummer Ian Paice, but that matters not. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover are original members to laymen. Steve Morse has been in the band for over 20 years, and Don Airey is at about 15. There is no lack of authenticity to Deep Purple, no matter what preconceptions you may have. This most recent lineup with Airey is now on its fourth studio album. The new album Infinite (produced again by Bob Ezrin) will be out April 7.
“Time for Bedlam” is a great choice for a single. It rocks a “Pictures of Home” (1972) vibe. Gillan’s lyrics are as biting as ever. “Sucking my milk from the venomous tit of the state…” Meanwhile Deep Purple sound like Deep Purple, but always pushing outwards. There is newness in “Time for Bedlam”. The droning intro is nothing like Deep Purple past, with Ian in a low monotonous voice. But whatever makes Deep Purple sound like Deep Purple, it’s on “Time for Bedlam”. For most people, the organ is the most identifiable ingredient, and Don Airey continues to pay tribute to the original, Jon Lord, in every note. The solo sections from Airey and Morse are jawdropping.
This great CD single has three additional tracks. “Paradise Bar” is a new non-album track, a laid back summer time groove. It has progressive keys and a lazy easy going vibe. It remains to be seen how it ranks among Infinite‘s album tracks. It’s nice to buy a single and get an actual new unreleased track, and “Paradise Bar” isn’t mere filler. Fans will enjoy Steve and Don’s solo trade-offs. An unreleased instrumental version of “Uncommon Man” (from 2013’s Now What?!) will also be of interest to fans of the musicians in Deep Purple. For such a long track (6:59) it’s amazing how well it works as a simple instrumental. You have to hand that to this great band, and producer Bob Ezrin for capturing such great ambience.
The last track “Hip Boots” is an instrumental rehearsal of a track that will be on Infinite. It’s a funky jam, a lot like what Deep Purple have always done. It remains to be seen what the album track is like (will it have vocals, will it be a jam?) but this is an intriguing look at a song in a state that we don’t normally get to hear. It whets the appetite for what could be coming.
Kudos to Deep Purple for still utilizing the singles format (something they also did with Now What?!), and in doing so, giving the fan some added value. They’re creating a buzz for Infinite, so let’s hope that pays off in April!