The death of Deep Purple’s founding keyboardist, Jon Lord, in July 2012 served as a stark reminder that even hard rock’s once seemingly ageless golden gods were very mortal indeed; so the impending release of a new Purple LP – their nineteenth, to be titled ‘Now What?’ – feels almost as reassuring as it is oddly surreal.

Of course it has now been over a decade since Lord retired from his longtime rock and roll alma matter, and yet his absence obviously never felt as permanent before, and it’s hard to tell whether this is down to his demise or how little ‘All the Time in the World’ – the first song unveiled from said forthcoming LP – sounds like the Deep Purple fans used to know.

To be fair, one could say that this tune that basically amounts to a middle-of-the-road exercise merely finds the remaining Purple ones acting their collective age; but that’s little consolation to those who will find it more suitable for programing as background music in retirement homes, than blaring from concert stages everywhere.

In any case, the point is fans should not come looking for razor-sharp guitar teeth from Steve Morse or even spirited keyboard flourishes from Don Airey – never mind anything remotely akin to Ian Paice’s percussive explosiveness in years past – but rather an altogether pleasant, mild-mannered, if ever so slightly nostalgic, recycling of ‘Purpendicular’s’ ‘Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming.’

Only where the latter obviously held pent up fury at bay behind Morse’s melancholy vamps, the former can only muster resigned philosophy delivered tongue-in cheek courtesy of Ian Gillan, who himself performs with the utmost temperance, far removed from the shrieking banshee of yesteryear.

All of which, once again, is not to dismiss ‘All the Time in the World’ as a bad song (it’s really not!), but qualify it as a surprisingly tepid, uncharacteristic one resembling, not the electrifying, fire-breathing Deep Purple of old, but the mature work of elder statesmen – and that’s hardly the sort of escapism some listeners will expect out of rock stars, now is it?


Hear Deep Purple's 'All the Time in the World'

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