The farcical feudings probably stopped being funny years ago but that still didn’t stop Ritchie Blackmore doing one of his disappearing acts on the eve of a Japanese tour to plug 1993’s Battle Rages On. Enter Steve Morse to supply the necessary twiddly bits and, hey presto, the umpteenth Deep Purple line-up.
Still, with Ian Gillan, Lord, Roger Glover and Paice all present and correct, Purpendicular is actually better than the mere damage limitation exercise it might have been.
Hey Cisco, Somebody Stole My Guitar and, in particular, A Castle Full Of Rascals with its serpentine riff and vocals at fullest squeal are the most obvious attempts to turn back the clock to the days of Fireball, and are none the worse for that.
The one genuine oddity is The Aviator, a rolling, country-tinged song that might just about pass for R.E.M. on a dark night. Strange but true.