Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
And still, a reunion of the classic Mark II was what followed. In 1984, Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord and Pace returned from their respective projects and created what was first deemed impossible. A money-grabbing attempt" Maybe. As is well-known, Mark II didn’t exactly get along well with each other. Nevertheless, the reception to Deep Purple’s first album in 8 years, Perfect Strangers, was fantastic by fans, and mostly positive by critics.
Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards, Organ
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
The album will immediately invoke feelings of nostalgia if you are familiar with classic Mark II material. The band has obviously aged and sounds a bit more restrained here, but nevertheless impressive. The change in Gillan’s vocals is obviously most notable. He sounds a bit more nasal than during his prime in the 70’s, but still manages to put down a very catchy performance. Lord’s keyboard melodies are not as swift as before either, but make up for it with flavour. Blackmore and his Stratocaster are still a force of nature, and the man delivers those riffs and bluesy solos that are typical of him like he’s never even been away.
The material featured on Perfect Strangers is mostly quality work. The sexual innuendo-packed and catchy opener Knocking At Your Back Door, the slow-galloping rhythm section that drives the title track and the superb guitar and keyboard melodies that lead the straight-out rock ‘n roll track Gypsy’s Kiss are among the best moments on the album. Variation is aplenty, with the heavily organ-driven Under the Gun, the slower blues moment on Wasted Sunsets with two classic solos from the master himself. While Nobody’s Home is mainly vocal-driven, it contains that old-fashioned Blackmore-Lord duelling we missed a lot. Hungry Daze makes for one of the lesser moments on the album for its lack of momentum but has those eastern-flavoured keyboard melodies reminiscent of Rainbow’s Gates of Babylon.
Most of all, what we hear here is a band that really wishes to go for it at their reunion, providing us with nostalgic material that doesn’t quite copy their early 70’s output, showing still new sides of creativity. Perfect Strangers is definitely not a simple move made for paying the bills, but rather one of the better examples of a reunion album. Deep Purple maintain their classic sound and creates enough variety to provide us with an excellent, solid album, and it is recommended to check this out after Mark II (pre-reunion) and III.
Tracklist for Perfect Strangers:
1. Knocking At Your Back Door
2. Under The Gun
3. Nobody's Home
4. Mean Streak
5. Perfect Strangers
6. Gypsys Kiss
7. Wasted Sunsets
8. Hungry Daze
9. Not Responsible