This is where Deep Purple cracked it in rock history after several years of recording albums and touring. Although there is a noted standout song by the group on this album, this is their best album overall and without this album, Progressive Rock and Metal would have not built up in the way it did. This is a genuinely good listen, so let’s put it on, and see how it sounds.
The synchronized drum and guitars begin this album with Highway Star. The vocals come in, singing about an awesome car one would wish to drive. Very 1970s, but so well done here. The whole piece is perfectly done, and instantly this song is a rock anthem. There are some nice sounding organ sounds in this as well. There is an unusual guitar/keyboard solo in the middle, mixed perfectly with the guitars on here as well. It’s original, well structured and amazing. A great song to kick off such an album as this one. The second solo is a genuinely awesome guitar melody being played. These guys obviously knew their craft, well done to them. The playing of all instruments here is top notch. The ending sounds mint, with a precise drum finish.
Next up is Maybe I’m A Leo which is a more song oriented sort of piece. It discusses lyrically some relationship issues, but it is still kick butt rock and roll. The standout here are Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar parts, which sound fantastic. A tripped out slide guitar solo is here in multiple sections, making this better than your average Prog Rock band. The organs here do the track justice as well. It’s a great, no-nonsense sort of track about love and astrology. Epic, and brilliant. The outro slides out well.
Pictures Of Home is next, beginning with a great drum roll and launches into a tripped out Prog Rock tune. It’s an up-tempo and energetic listen for rock fans, or music lovers in general. The whole thing sounds great, with expert drumming, Ritchie Blackmore’s immortal soloing and the imaginative sounds in general, especially from the keyboard. This is brilliant, even though it’s not the best track on the album. That says a lot about the consistency of the music here, it is post-psychedelic brilliance. Good tune. The distorted bass guitar in the middle is very unusual, and interesting. Just when you think it ends, a drumroll indicates the return of the music here. Great music here.
Never Before sounds very 1970s, beginning with a funky and original guitar part before going into a more song based tune. The music here is audibly delicious and wonderful to hear. The instrumentation is very precise, and the lyrics are about rock and roll mayhem, and lust. The midsection sounds a lot like something The Beatles or The Eagles would do. Shortly after, the minimal yet expressive guitar solo takes you elsewhere. The next solo is a great keyboard solo. All in all, a good tune.
The biggest hit for the group is Smoke On The Water which begins with that classic catchy riff that, even for non-Rock fans, is instantly recognisable. The lyrics are not the greatest, despite it being based on a real life event of a fire. Still, it’s a fresh and tasty listen for all Rock fans out there, and just is a great Deep Purple song. Good listen and a simple riff on the track that every guitar should know. The guitar solo sounds a lot like a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, although he was well gone by this time. Nice tune to hear any time. The outro is rather psychedelic.
Following is Lazy which begins with volume swell style keyboard melodies, which are really fascinating to hear and are very Deep Purple sounding, and better than any 1980s Synth Pop out there. The band eventually leads on in, with a more focused set of melodies and some melodic and beautiful guitar playing. The rest of the band eventually join in, with a synchronized set of melodies. Eventually, it turns into a poppy and interesting song, complete with a Harmonica solo. Good listening, even though this song is clearly not one of the highlights here. It’s about a lazy sort of person who spends their whole day in bed. The guitar solo is majestic. The outro sounds like Led Zeppelin.
Space Truckin’ is the last track here. It begins with more trippy organ, before launching into a science-fiction piece that sounds really good and has a beautiful and warped set of melodies here. With lyrics about space travel and other adventures, this is definitely a great way to end this album. Quality music is here. It has some quirky guitar solos as well, along with very interesting drums too, before going into an AC/DC like ending for the song. Note that AC/DC weren’t around at this time, so they obviously borrowed from these guys. Great listen to finish off a great album.
This is a legendary album, and is often seen as an underrated 1970s classic. Which it is. If you like Progressive Rock with a touch of hard and heavy guitar playing, this is the perfect release for you. Overall, a great listen and a music have for classic rock fans.