Think of a Deep Purple song. Got one? Good. You thinking of Smoke on the Water? No? You thinking of another tune sung by Ian Gillan? Child In Time, perhaps, or Highway Star? Seems like when anybody thinks of a Purple tune it’s that classic Mark II lineup that comes to mind, the one with Gillan out front blowing everybody away alongside the powerful crunch of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar.
But there were and are many shades of Deep Purple. In their original incarnation they were a heavy psychedelic band, reworking and warping Beatles’ tunes. And after Gillan left they got bluesier, found some soul and swagger when the pipes of Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale were fitted into their heavy metal machine. This is referred to as the Mark III lineup and Thalamus, who hail from Sweden, must be fans of this era.
But with all that talk about Purple, the first track on their new album, This House is Going Down in Fire starts out sounding like a different classic rock band, thanks to Kjell Bergendahl’s Billy Gibbons warble. But then the backing vocals come soaring over top, clear as a bell and looking down on this dirty boogie tune. Visions of Mark III Purple have to start dancing in your head. Especially with their classy use of the organ on this album, which adds texture while filling in the spaces between the rhythm section and guitar.
That organ carries The Caveman’s Crib, even popping up for that rarest of appearances these days, the organ solo. Soul, is a funky ballad, with pleading heartfelt vocals and an unassuming groove that will have you bobbing yer head before the song is through. Follow the White Rabbit has you chasing the riff down the rabbit hole, only to come out on the other side Where the Roses Never Fade. All these tunes are great. They are deceptively catchy and vary enough so that you can’t help but pay attention.But be warned- this album ain’t a balls out riff fest. This is a heavy, groovy, SOULful record that brings back memories of a time I only known through digging in my old man’s vinyl. Thalamus say this record is “plain seventies hard rock in a modern suit... with just a little flirt towards a progressive side.” The suit fits gentlemen, please continue to wear it.
Their new stuff seems to be in short supply, so help yourself to this track of their previous album and get ready for Soul, which you can buy here or here on March 12.