Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers (1984 – Polydor)

I’ve always clamed to be a big Deep Purple fan, but a couple of months ago it was pointed out to me that I haven’t even heard a substantial amount of their music. My fandom centered around the mark II era of the band, and the rest of the catalogue was more or less in the dark to me. I couldn’t really stand the thought of myself as not being familiar with one of the essential hard rock acts of last four decades, so began my new found project to better myself: buying the catalogue.

I haven’t really gotten far in this project, but I have to stop for second on Perfect strangers. I really love the sound of this album. It’s thick and full, and so well rounded. Roger Glover has done an amazing job. Two things that stands out from other Purple records are the bass and the organ. The organ sound has lost that squeaky sound that has bothered me and I have blamed for terrible headaches. Everybody always talk about Lords amazing sence of melody and his playing ability, but nobody ever seems to mind the horrible sound he used for most of the seventies. On this record the organ sounds thicker and fuller.

Richie had been out of the band for a while and this record was marketed as a comeback record or a reunion. Richie does an  excellent job on this album. The cooperation with Lord is at times amazing. The riffs have that duality of being great on their own, but also as backing tracks to the vocals.

The foremost song is the title track. This is an almost perfect hard rock song. If you’re ever wondering how a rumbling, heavy bass should sound, just listen to this song. This is just the heaviest bass ever. Another great thing about this song is its arrangement. Nothing is particularly complex and all the different instruments play relatively easy parts, but they fit together so well, and create this rich tapestry of sound.

I really enjoy Son of Alerik, which was not part of the original album. It’s ten minutes long, but doesn’t seem like it. It’s interesting and pushes ever onwards and upwards, twists and turns. Especially Richie excels on the bluesy instrumental parts. Paces’ drumming is very impressive, especially around the 5 minute mark, where he has some amazing fills. The entire song is so deep purpely, it’s like the essence of Deep Purple.

 

The opening track, Knocking on your back door, is also stellar.  I just love the riffs. The guitar solo sound sort of half assed on first listen, but the more I listen to it, the more the brilliance of it strikes me. I also enjoy Mean Streak and A Gypsys Kiss and Hungry Daze and Under the Gun. Actually there is only one song I don’t particularly care for and that is Wasted Sunsets. It’s a bit tedious and, somehow, slow moving.

 

Recommended track: Perfect Strangers and Son of Alerik

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