REVIEW: Deep Purple – “Throw My Bones”/”Man Alive” (2020 10″ single)

DEEP PURPLE – “Throw My Bones”/”Man Alive” (2020 10″ Edel single)

As a general rule, I won’t listen to new Deep Purple until I have a physical product in my hands.  These days that usually happens in the form of a new single.  Deep Purple will be back with a new album Whoosh! produced by Bob Ezrin in August 2020.  Until then, they’ve issued a three track single with one exclusive new song.  How nice of them!

A huge thanks to John of 2 Loud 2 Old Music for gifting this vinyl.  Certain new releases are difficult to find today (for obvious reasons), at least without spending money on huge markups by secondary sellers.  Music friends are the best kind of friends — make one today!

A word about the cover art:  love it!  Though not identical, the new Deep Purple logo is strongly reminiscent of the original Shades Of Deep Purple logo from 1968.  The astronaut is similarly retro.  He even recalls the similarly-garbed “archaeologists” in the music video for “Knocking At Your Back Door”.  And now, for the first time, the needle drops on the vinyl and we find out what the new Deep Purple sounds like.

“Throw My Bones” has one of those quirky Steve Morse guitar riffs but then it’s backed up by those lush Don Airey keyboards.  This is one of the catchier songs that Deep Purple have written in the last few years.  Morse’s solo is as breathtaking as usual, but the sparkling keyboards are what makes this song shine.

The second track is the non-album “Power of the Moon” which prompts the question:  if this didn’t make the album, just how good is the album?  Because this track is excellent.  It’s different.  Its quiet passages are mesmerising.  Once again it’s Morse and Airey who really take it to another level.

Finally we have “Man Alive”, a song adorned with an orchestra.  Under the deft guidance of Bob Ezrin, something powerful and dramatic hits the ears even though Deep Purple don’t really do “heavy” anymore.  “Man Alive” is the song that detractors call the “environmental agenda song”.  Hey, if Deep Purple can say something relevant to today and get you to think, that’s great.  We don’t always have to hear about strange kinds of women from Tokyo.  The lyrics are assembled intelligently and thoughtfully.

A lot of people bitch and moan about Ian Gillan.  For the most part, it’s not the singer delivering the hooks in these new songs.  Just as Steve Morse has had to adapt to his damaged right wrist to keep playing, Deep Purple have adapted to Ian Gillan’s age.  The songs don’t blast like they used to; they breathe.  Ian’s voice is multitracked to give it some thickness.  Incidentally the vocals were recorded in Toronto, a city that Gillan has history with.

Longtime Purple fans who enjoyed Now What?! and InFinite will enjoy these new songs just as much.  The cool thing about Purple is that they have distinct eras.  We might be in the tail-end of a Bob Ezrin era (and the whole saga in general) and with time, the Purple/Ezrin collaborations will be looked back on fondly.  The Ezrin albums don’t sound like the Bradford discs, the Glover productions, or any of the others.  They’re more subtle and show a band growing even in their later years.  Whoosh! could be a nice capstone to a career.  We shall see.

4.5/5 stars

22 comments

  1. I really love singing on the verses of “Man Alive”. I think it’s the best Deep Purple I’ve heard in years. As such, I’m really miffed that you only hear it twice and the rest of the song just grinds to a halt for boring talking bits.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BOB FUCKING EZRIN! Is there as much autotune on this as there was on his latest Alice Cooper work?

    Unrelated note, what the hell happened to Greta Van Fleet? Are their fifteen minutes already spent? Last I heard their hamster throated frontman was having vocal trouble a year and a half ago. Unable to squeak his way through their Led Clone horseshit. They should have listened to Gary Moore and Ozzy Osbourne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was wondering about Greta myself. I kind of assumed they were still finishing school and stuff. If the kid’s voice isn’t blown out I’m sure they’ll return, but never as popular as when they started.

      Like

      1. Voice totally destroyed at 22. Must be a new record, he should have listened to what happened to Plant’s voice and realized that wasn’t maintainable without proper training.

        Like

      1. As well, I’m with Deke as well. I think as well that Ian’s voice has sounded weaker as well in recent years as well. But that’s what happens when you get old as well. It would help if they’d use reverb as cavernous as a well as well. Like a well in the Aztec civilization. As well as being a well, it’s an Aztec Well. You can call it an Az’ well as well.

        Sorry Deke! Just having fun.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I like that description, Mike – the songs breathe, rather than blast.
    I think that’s the way to do it in any profession.
    Sidney Crosby’s not trying to outskate players 10 years younger than him like Connor McDavid, instead plays to his strengths that aren’t diminishing at all with age (positional play, edging, backhands…)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great Pal to gift ya this release.
    Ya know I’m a fan of Purple and a fan of Steve Morse but I never gave Purple with Morse a chance.
    Your enthusiasm for this has me interested so I’ll be revisiting the Purple/Morse era and the Ezrin productions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The previous two Ezrin jobs haven’t done much for me so I’m finding it hard to get excited about the new album. I can see why people like this era but it’s just not for me. But cause its Purple I’ll probably buy the new one anyway. I’ve got the rest so why not?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As Aaronn would say…Community.

    I was contemplating the boxset of the new album, but the price is too high(I paid $60 on Amazon for the last boxset and.this one will be roughly double that) and the 3 -10″ records are all live albums.

    I might just get the the 2lp, and the cd/dvd. Maybe the singles too.

    I want more recorded music/videos, not t shirts, live albums and artprints.

    Liked by 1 person

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