Deep Purple - Bananas

Year of Release: 2003
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 07243 5 891048 29 / 86351
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:30:00

With their latest studio effort Deep Purple have really gone "bananas"! Throughout the band's history they have dealt with a lot of unsuspected departures that were regarded by the media as being the ultimate death of the band. In the end, over and over again the band came out of it much stronger than ever before. When [Ian] Gillan left, everyone thought this was the definate end of the band, but they became even more successful with Coverdale and Hughes on board. Then when [Ritchie] Blackmore left, fans thought it was like pulling the heart out of a wild animal. Instead they found the wonderful Tommy Bolin, a partnership that sadly didn't last very long due to Tommy's sudden death. Later on Steve Morse stepped into the difficult boots of Blackmore, but right now I'm convinced no one is sad about Blackmore's move any longer, as Morse has proven to be more of an all-around guitarist. When Jon Lord decided to leave the band in order to concentrate more on the classical side of the musical spectrum, the media once again thought this would mean the definate end of our beloved Purple. With yet another longtime friend in their ranks, the band fought back, armed with Don Airey. This new Bananas album is the first Purple product featuring Airey, who also concentrates on the Hammond, but whose sound sadly is mixed a little too much in the back.

Listening to Bananas one could never tell the age of these immortal rockers. This album sounds as fresh as you can expect and perfectly builds the bridge between Purpendicular and Abandon, although I also hear elements that can be associated with Burn or Stormbringer. Fans of the rocking side of the band might not be so pleased to hear their orchestrated side, such as during "Haunted," which has been arranged for strings and cello by Paul Buckmaster. Maybe the female choir makes it a little too mellow, yet it once again illustrates the band's writing skills as well as the fact that Gillan's vocals still sound perfect. When you put on a set of headphones and listen to a track like "Razzle Dazzle," it's as if you're sitting next to Ian Paice as the sound of his drums gets damned close. The recipe of mixing energetic rock'n roll with splendid arrangements is once again on the cards as one can identify during "Silver Tongue."

When you take some of the classic Purple albums, what strikes me is the diversity of material that you could find on every single disc. The same applies to Bananas, which contains all kinds of genres, but which has that distinctive Deep Purple thread running throughout the album. Take the bluesy "Walk On," which contains some very tasty guitar playing by Morse. That same bluesy approach continues throughout the intro for "Picture Of Innocence" as well, before the music introduces a short acoustic interlude that contains some medieval elements before continuing in the typical Purple spirit. When you think of all the wonderful melodies Deep Purple has conjured up over the years, no one will doubt the fact that this magic can still be traced on their new album. "Never A Word" is just such an example based on a very catchy melody. Yet the traditional Purple music has to have that powerful energy fuelled by the immortal Paice/Glover combination. The title track "Bananas" is an ideal statement of that Purple energy, a song that also contains Gillan on harmonica and delivers a duel between guitar and organ as if it was composed by Bach himself! To illustrate the fantastic composing skills of Steve Morse our American friend gets the green light to close this album by delivering the short instrumental "Contact Lost," which sounds like a true classic to me.

So there you have it, the brand new Deep Purple album in their equally brand new line-up. And what a pleasant surprise this album is as it perfectly illustrates the friendship in the band and the love of playing and composing great music. In some parts however I would have loved the Hammond to be more up front rather than the way it has been mixed. If this album is proof of what's cooking in the Purple kitchen right now, no doubt they can deliver this kind of menu for the next hundred years. A timeless sound from a timeless band!

House Of Pain / Sun Goes Down / Haunted / Razzle Dazzle / Silver Tongue / Walk On / Picture Of Innocence / I Got Your Number / Never A Word / Bananas / Doing It Tonight / Contact Lost

Ian Gillan - vocals
Ian Paice - drums
Roger Glover - bass
Steve Morse - guitars
Don Airey ? keyboards

Shades Of Deep Purple (1968)
Book Of Taliesyn (1969)
Deep Purple (1969)
Concerto For Group And Orchestra With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (live) (1970/2002)
Deep Purple In Rock (1970)
Fireball (1971)
Machine Head (1972)
Purple Passages (1972)
Made In Japan (live) (1972/1998/2001)
The Best Of Deep Purple (1972)
Who Do We Think We Are (1973/2000)
Burn (1974/2004)
Stormbringer (1974)
Come Taste The Band (1975)
24 Carat Purple (1970-1973) (1975)
Made In Europe (live) (1976)
Powerhouse (1978)
The Singles A's & B's (1978)
The Mark II Purple Singles (1979)
Deepest Purple (1980)
In Concert 1970 - 1972 (live) (1980)
Live On The BBC (1980/2004)
Deep Purple Live In London (live '74) (1982)
Perfect Strangers (1984)
The Anthology (1985)
The House Of Blue Light (1987)
The Best Of Deep Purple (1987)
Nobody's Perfect (live) (1988)
Scandinavian Nights (live) (1988)
Slaves And Masters (1990)
The Anthology (1991)
In The Absence Of Pink (Knebworth '85) (live) (1991)
Purple Rainbows (1991)
Knocking At Your Back Door (1992)
The Battle Rages On (1993)
Progression (1993)
The Deep Purple Family Album (1993)
Live In Japan (3cd) (1993)
Come Hell Or High Water (live) (1994)
Child In Time (1995)
Purpendicular (1996)
California Jammin' (1996)
Live At The Olympia (1996)
The Final Concerts (1996)
Abandon (1998)
In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra (2000)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (2000)
This Time Around: Live In Tokyo '75 (2001)
New Live & Rare: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 (2001)
In Concert: 1970-1972 (2001)
In Profile (2001)
Singles Box Set (2002)
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Edition (2002)
Listen Learn Read On (2002)
The Essential (2003)
Gold (2003)
California Jam 1974 (2003)
Bananas (2003)
The Platinum Collection (2005)
Who Do We Think We Are (24kt Gold reissue) (2005)
Rapture Of The Deep (2005)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: October 5th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 848
Language: english


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