Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are
EMI
Hard Rock
7 songs (34:27)
Release year: 1973
Deep Purple, EMI
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

There are few or none bands that have been around for decades without failing at some point in their history. However, when said band have released two or three absolute classic in a row, it's kind of harsh to expect them to keep delivering. Ego's boast like pregnant chicks on a sunny summer-day, and well, internal struggles are bound to break out. It is undoubtedly likely that writing songs of the same or better calibre than earlier becomes an impossible task, even for the most skilled musicians out there. Now, no-one denies Deep Purple indisputable influence and impact on the hard rock and heavy metal universe, but even the British Hard Rock mutants had their lows. Riven with internal strife, Ritchie Blackmore and company had a hard time coming up with new, fresh and qualified material to compete with their earlier, monstrous outings In Rock, Fireball and Machine Head. For the record Who Do We Think We Are was Mark II's last release until Perfect Strangers which came out in 1984. However, for an album that tends to be forgotten and dust-ridden, I enjoy this with passion every once in a while when I pick it down from its permanent spot on the shelf. Maybe it's because I don't listen to it all that often, or maybe the songs are, god forbid, better than deemed back in the heyday?

Let's be honest, Who Do We Think We Are are more commercially appealing, the hit-single Woman From Tokyo confirms that. There is however nothing wrong with that when they keep the level decent. The opener is in no way a highlight on the other hand, they'll come later. Both Lord and Blackmore still sound good, and Gillan, whilst not being put to any tests this early, sounds perfectly normal yet maybe without the desperation he voiced on earlier albums. The opener is obviously supposed to be a hit, as it's pretty fresh and catchy mid-tempo candy with sing-along choruses and nifty piano-soloing. On top of it all, it's spiced with some slightly spacey prog rock-like parts which is quite enjoyable to these ears. The following Mary Long is also a tune packed with sharp hooks through simple melodies and bluesy rhythms that will get you in the groove without difficulties.

Thoughts after the first couple of songs will definitely be that this was geared towards the public. This is extremely much easier to get than say, In Rock which was more complex, atmospheric, with a dirtier production that'll make it harder to swallow. Still however, they managed to place enough energetic crunch and tasteful solos, melodies and hooks in there to make it the timeless classic it is.

Luckily, some might claim, Super Trooper follows up, a track that reminds me more of No No No from Fireball than anything else. The riffs and rhythms sounds more deliberate here, and the straight-ahead approach that coloured the two earlier songs is left aside. Super Trooper driven by exciting, jumpy riffs and contains a slick solo which immediately makes it more of a pre-metal rocker. The same goes for Smooth Dancer, which is upbeat, full of excitement through great vocal work and dazzling keyboard-work and riffing. Rat Bat Blue keeps the ball rolling, with very bluesy characteristics early before it speeds up into one hell of a race where Lord gets to play around with his keyboard like a drunk Chinese with fireworks on New Year's Eve. The boys slows things way down with Place in the Line which is the only song that can be classified as boring, especially after all the firecrackers that's been put on display prior to it. Blackmore and Lord solo-battle should however be mentioned on a positive note when they speed things up a bit about halfway through, as they ignite like they used to do on earlier albums.

Touchy, feely Our Lady ends the album in a Pink Floyd-like way, with attempts on mighty melodies coupled with choirs and fitting piano. All in all, I don't think this is a bad album at all even though it contains a couple of mishaps. There's plenty of good material here, and some absolutely great stuff. Of course, you can just go listen to Fireball or Machine Head if you want to and get the whole package, but if you like Deep Purple on their more commercial level, you should definitely brush the dust away from Who Do We Think We Are, stick it in your spinner and dig it.

Killing Songs :
Super Trooper, Smooth Dancer, Rat Bat Blue
Thomas quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Deep Purple that we have reviewed:
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
Deep Purple - In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 10 reviews click here
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