After an aborted reunion a couple of years earlier, Deep Purple Mk 2 (1969-73) finally completed the deed in 1984 when what was considered their greatest lineup announced plans for a new album and tour.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: Perfect Strangers
SERIAL: POLHP 16
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Ian Gillan – vocals * Ritchie Blackmore – guitars * Roger Glover – bass * Ian Paice – drums * Jon Lord – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Knockin’ At Your Door * 02 Under The Gun * 03 Nobody’s Home * 04 Meanstreak * 05 Perfect Strangers * 06 A Gypsy’s Kiss * 07 Wasted Sunsets * 08 Hungry Daze * 09 Not Responsible
WEBLINKS: Site Link
After an aborted reunion a couple of years earlier, Deep Purple Mk 2 (1969-73) finally completed the deed in 1984 when what was considered their greatest lineup announced plans for a new album and tour. It couldn’t have come at a better time for several members: Ian Gillan was coming off a failed attempt as vocalist of Black Sabbath while Blackmore and Glover had taken Rainbow as far as they could in their quest for American AOR supremacy.
Paice had quit Whitesnake a few years earlier but Lord was still committed to former Deep Purple comrade David Coverdale in the band, until Purple came calling again. The band released the album to top twenty places on both sides of the Atlantic and the ensuing tour grossed millions, with the first show taking place in Auckland, New Zealand. With the album, Deep Purple had taken some gloss from their legend, the music never coming close to their heyday. Troubling also were the recurring problems between Gillan and Blackmore which inevitably would lead to another split.
Opener ‘Knocking At Your Back Door’ is well remembered, now regarded as a latter day Deep Purple classic. Lord’s keyboard work was updated to reflect the 80’s and Blackmore’s soloing recalled some of his best 70’s work. Gillan contributed his typical double-entendre lyrics but it all works better as a melodic rocker rather than full blown heavy rock.
Lord’s familiar Hammond organ kicks off ‘Under The Gun’, Purple’s heavy handed comdemnation of war and a shot of hard rock aggression. The manic pace is maintained by ‘Nobody’s Home’ and ‘Mean Streak’, vintage slices of Deep Purple class, filled with an abundance of organ and guitar solo tradeoffs and Gillan’s unmistakable wailing. It was a reminder that Purple could still pull it off.
The title cut is a nostalgic piece, relying on some atmospheric keys from Lord with the addition of a classic chorus which only reached no 48 on the singles charts. The speed of ‘Gypsy’s Kiss’ with its dominating single riff works well with Paice’s bombast behind his kit. It doesn’t poesess the menace of the 70’s however and the mid section solos from Blackmore and Lord are a rehash of 1974’s ‘Burn’.
‘Wasted Sunsets’ and ‘Hungry Daze’ are a couple of unimaginative tunes with little creativity in both melody and music, setting a worrying trend for later albums. Bonus track ‘Not Responsible’ resolves this matter, one of Deep Purple’s more offbeat songs, a bizzare mid paced track with some sinister melodies. A surprising classic, Gillan’s lyrics are among his best with the unforgettable line ‘I’ve got no ticket, but I’m gonna take a fucking ride’.
Of Deep Purple’s six latter day albums, ‘Perfect Strangers’ is the only essential listen. Following albums displayed few moments of brilliance, with only random moments of inspiration. The constant shifting of personnel remained a troublesome factor, with Gillan and Blackmore coming and going at various moments, the latter for good in 1993, taking with him Purple’s sound.
As good a comeback as ‘Perfect Strangers’ was, it did pale in comparison to Gillan and Blackmore’s solo work, which was far heavier and in keeping with the true Deep Purple spirit of classic heavy metal.
Knockin’ At Your Backdoor