Deep Purple - Bananas
EMI
Classic Hard Rock
12 songs (47'53)
Release year: 2003
Deep Purple, EMI
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
When Ritchie Blackmore left the band (again) in the mid 90's), Deep Purple continued first with Joe Satriani on guitar then with Steve Morse (Steve Morse Band, Dixie Dregs) who is still with the band. In 1996, they released Purpendicular, which was an outstanding CD and one of my all time favorite Deep Purple albums. They managed to keep the bluesy heavy classic guitar and organ sound but infused lots of new twists, all the while remaining true to the legacy of Deep Purple. Abandon followed in 1998 and although still a solid album, was nowhere near the caliber of Purpendicular. In the five years that has passed since Abandon, the band has been touring constantly throughout the world and seemed destined to become one of the many "nostalgia" bands touring right now (Doobie Brothers, Eagles etc.), making a comfortable living out of playing their greatest hits. Not being quite ready to give up writing new material, the band enlisted the services of producer Michael Bradford (Kid Rock) and headed into the studio earlier this year. This was the first time since the 70's that the band didn't handle the production themselves and the result is album that was completed in only 6 weeks as opposed to the self-produced Abandon which took and exhausting 5 months to finish. Bananas is a fresh hard rocking new album from the veteran British band that they can be very proud of. Taking over the keyboard spot from the recently departed Jon Lord is veteran keyboardist Don Airey (Ozzy, Rainbow)

Bananas is a great diverse album with lots of great rocking tunes, some slower bluesy and heavy tracks and a couple of very touching ballads to balance things out. House Of Pain, Razzle Dazzle, Picture of Innocence, Bananas and I've Got Your Number will almost certainly please die-hard fans of the band with their great spirited up tempo feel and hard rocking style. Slower bluesy and more pounding heavy styles are found with songs like Sun Goes Down and Silver Tongue. There's a few surprises here in that the band explores new territories with songs like the laid back and very 70's sounding Walk On as well as the more ballad like Haunted complete with female backing voices for the chorus. Doing It Tonight sees the band using heavy reggae influenced rhythms with great leads and all the classic Deep Purple elements. The biggest and most pleasant surprise for me is the track Never A Word. A haunting guitar melody combined with whispery vocals by Ian Gillan results in a great Byrds style track that had me running to pick up my acoustic guitar to play along the first time I heard it. An unusual track by Deep Purple standards, but a stunningly beautiful track with some wonderful acoustic guitar melodies by Steve Morse.

Now about the title.....Apparently the word "bananas" kept cropping up during the recording process to describe some of the crazy wild instrumental stuff the band was jamming with and on one occasion, Roger Glover walked into the studio with National Geographic picture of a guy pushing a huge cart full of bananas to market and that was it.....Bananas it was!!!

Deep Purple certainly has a legacy behind them and no-one will argue about the importance of their contribution to the origins of the classic hard rock sound that heavy metal evolved from but the fact that they can still release solid new material is testament to the talent in this band and that they are far from being ready to retire. A great new album that is both hard rocking and catchy and full of classic Ian Gillan's witty and funny phrasing all mixed in with the powerful drumming of Ian Paice and the tight bottom end by Roger Glover. Don Airey does a great job and although there is only one Jon Lord, he steps up to the plate and delivers the classic heavy Hammond organ that is such a staple to the band's sound. Ian Gillan's voice is amazing as ever and it sounds like he's still in his 20's. Steve Morse provides a great guitar sound to the band and once in a while lets loose with some shredding leads proving that he is one of the greatest guitarists around these days. Deep Purple is very much alive and well and not content to live in the past like so many other classic bands from the 70's and 80's that are still around today. With the ability to release great new material worthy of the Deep Purple name, they are very much a band living in the hear and now.

Killing Songs :
House Of Pain, Sun Goes Down, Picture Of Innocence, I Got Your Number and Never A Word
Marty quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Deep Purple that we have reviewed:
Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are reviewed by Thomas and quoted 81 / 100
Deep Purple - Fireball reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Deep Purple - Deep Purple in Rock reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Deep Purple - History, Hits & Highlights '68 - '76 (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Deep Purple - Around The World Live (DVD Box Set) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 10 reviews click here
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