Thread: 30 Years Ago: Deep Purple Stumble With Second Reunion Album, ‘The House of Blue Light’

jszfunk - 1/18/2017 at 12:55 PM

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/deep-purple-house-of-blue-light/

Found this article the other day. I always thought it was pretty solid and still enjoy listening to it but I have been known for liking music that sometimes isn't an artist/groups best among popular consensus .


Though Deep Purple’s 1984 reunion effort Perfect Strangers was greeted with mixed reviews by critics, it was a triumph with fans. The tour in support of the album was a massive success, cementing the legacy of the Mark II lineup, and leaving hopes high for the follow-up record, The House of Blue Light, which came out on Jan. 12, 1987.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as rewarding, dividing fans with a confusing mix of the classic Purple sound and an attempt at a contemporary tone. “The House of Blue Light was a weird album and hard to put together,” keyboardist Jon Lord told Modern Keyboard. “We made the massive mistake of trying to make our music current. We discovered that people didn’t want us to that. They wanted us to do what we do best.”

Lord is responsible for many of the high points on the record. His playing is such a part of the signature Deep Purple style, and on tracks like lead single “Call of the Wild” and the rollicking album closer “Dead or Alive,” he’s doing much of the heavy lifting.

Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore certainly doesn’t slouch, breaking out memorable riffs on “The Unwritten Law” and “Mad Dog,” along with wiry solos on “The Spanish Archer” and “Strangeways.” But The House of Blue Light as a whole is hardly a guitar album like the band’s watershed moments Machine Head and Deep Purple in Rock.

Frontman Ian Gillan is in fine form vocally, even if his lyrics are a bit heavy-handed. “Mitzi Dupree,” for instance, blunders down the familiar path of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” and Purple’s own “Knocking at Your Back Door” in being about a woman with crude talents, in this case involving ping-pong balls. Gillan himself was critical of the album to a degree upon its release, pointedly telling Kerrang! that “Dead or Alive” was, “a pile of s—.”

“I’m pretty pleased with it,” the singer conceded. “I would say delighted, but I won’t because I feel there should only be eight tracks on it. Still, it is a good album overall.”

Uneven – particularly in the second half – The House of Blue Light would prove unsatisfying and result in more band acrimony. Gillan would be ousted following the supporting tour, replaced by Joe Lynn Turner, though he would rejoin Deep Purple for a 25th anniversary tour in 1993.



[Edited on 1/18/2017 by jszfunk]


JimSheridan - 1/19/2017 at 12:20 AM

If i recall correctly, Rolling Stone praised this album as better than Perfect Strangers because PS was too backward looking.

Myself, i prefer Perfect Strangers, though I'll admit i have not listened to House of Blue Light in forever. I thought Call of the Wild was a very generic tune.

I did see them in 1987 for this tour. Ian Paice stole the show. Ritchie was very hit and miss.


jszfunk - 4/20/2017 at 11:33 AM

quote:
If i recall correctly, Rolling Stone praised this album as better than Perfect Strangers because PS was too backward looking.

Myself, i prefer Perfect Strangers, though I'll admit i have not listened to House of Blue Light in forever. I thought Call of the Wild was a very generic tune.

I did see them in 1987 for this tour. Ian Paice stole the show. Ritchie was very hit and miss.


Here is that review from Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/the-house-of-blue-light-1987 0226
Of the seventies hard-rock dinosaurs that still roam the earth, Deep Purple is one of the few with any credibility left in its crunch. The House of Blue Light — the second album by Purple's classic In Rock lineup since their return to active duty — is certainly a marked improvement over their lukewarm '84 comeback, Perfect Strangers, and, except for a couple of outright duds on side two, is as good as this band has ever been since its "Smoke on the Water" salad days.



"Bad Attitude" opens the album with five minutes of vintage Machine Head sludge — Ian Paice's thunder sticks calling the proceedings to order with a rigid goose-step beat, Ian Gillan raping his tonsils with the vigor of yesteryear. And "Mad Dog" is basically an '87-model "Highway Star," high-speed metal fortified with Jon Lord's lusty Hammondorgan sound and the brass-knuckle guitar of Ritchie Blackmore.

The band has spiked its old hammer-and-anvil sound with a little future tech here and there: "The Unwritten Law" features subtly deployed electro-hand-claps and percolating sequencer amid its clenched-fist chorus and Blackmore's loco fretwork. But it's only when Purple turns on the retro-charm full blast that The House of Blue Light really goes up in flames. "Hard Lovin' Woman" and "Dead or Alive" are both body-slam rockers in the old blitzkrieg spirit of "Speed King" and "Fireball," while Paice's sledgehammer-of-the-gods drumming and Blackmore's punch-your-lights-out chords keep "Call of the Wild," with its atypically poppy hook, from turning into neo-Boston fluff.

Fortunately, all that crash 'n' burn also obscures most of the album's lyric embarrassments. Although Gillan is hardly the Alan Alda of heavy metal, "Mitzi Dupree," a heavy-plodding blues, may be a new low in rock-star sexism ("I said what is this queen of the ping pong business/She smiled what do you think/It has no connection with China/I said oow have another drink"). But aside from the rather purple poetry, the ho-hum Armageddon stomp "Strangeways" and a notable lack throughout the album of classic Blackmore psycho-chicken-scratch soloing, The House of Blue Light is a surprisingly strong return from the tar pits. There's no "Smoke on the Water" here, but Deep Purple still has a pretty good fire going down below.


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