Purpendicular marked the first appearance of Steve Morse on guitar for the legendary band.
The resulting album remains an underrated entry into the discography of Deep Purple. Morse’s guitar virtuosity brought a fresh breath of air into the compositions and recorded performances. The album’s opening track “Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic” has Ian Gillan reciting spoken word verses along a bouncing catchy riff. Morse starts the song off with great use of pinch harmonics. This is a great introduction of Morse to the global Purple audience.
Purpendicular is an outstanding musical storybook. It’s an easy enjoyable listen from beginning to end. The album is full of catchy tracks and performances you would expect from this core group of brilliant musicians. It brought in a pleasantly placed mix of influences beyond heavy rock not seen since earlier releases from the Mark II lineup. The direction continued when Purple released the follow-up Abandon in 1998, the album that would feature keyboardist Jon Lord on his final studio album with the band.
(Note: I personally can live without hearing most of 2003’s “Bananas”)
The consistent directions Purple has taken over the last few decades is demonstrative of what progressive heavy rock should be. Folk, Americana, Classical, progressive time signatures and other virtuoso sound experiments dot the Deep Purple discography since Morse’s joining.
After “The Long Goodbye Tour” wrapped in December 2019, many assumed this was the final curtain call for the group. Deep Purple are now set to etch another entry into the catalog come August of 2020 with the release of Whoosh!. Early tracks show it to potentially be one of the strongest albums from the Steve Morse era.