The progressive nature of Now What’s opening track A Simple Song suggests this album is a return to form. Interestingly, both of the first two tracks here make references to time. Perhaps they are aware the sands are running out? This is the British rock legends 19th studio album since offering up Shades of Deep Purple back in 1968. The notable difference between this version of their latest album and the version that was released last year concerns the extra disc for the most part. The first disc contains the studio album in its entirety and also adds two bonus tracks in the shape of It’ll Be Me and First Sign of Madness. The former is a cover version of a Jerry Lee Lewis original, whilst the latter is their composition and sets out its stall with an upbeat presentation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the new album, then there are plenty of highlights including Bodyline, Hell to Pay and Weirdistan amongst many others. Produced by Bob Ezrin, who gives the album suitable and crystal clear sound, songs like the commercially acceptable All the Time in the World can blossom. The sound is a remarkable change from their previous studio album Rapture of the Deep. When you take a look inside the sleeve, you’ll see the humble sentiment of the band as they share their thoughts. “This album is dedicated to Jon Lord. Souls, having touched, are forever entwined.”
The second disc contains live recordings from around various locations in Europe where the band were touring during the summer of 2013. Cities like Milan and Rome in Italy plus Aalborg in Denmark make notable inclusions. It is as good as you would imagine from a band that have built up a reputation for being a consistently good live act. New songs like Vincent Price and Above and Beyond are mixed in with classics like Perfect Strangers and Black Night. With both discs as part of this wonderful collection of the modern-day version of the mighty Deep Purple, you get a real cornucopia of classic rocking treasures.