I've purposely waited a while and thought I'd add my comments to the second wave of reviews to rather than fire off a reaction on the day of release. There is some excellent material on the album - Sun Goes Down, Bananas, House of Pain and Walk On all hit the spot, which make up for the disappointing Razzle Dazzle and Doing It Tonight.

Well done to the boys for a positive album which takes Purple down a slightly different road and of course, live some of the material will be awesome. The only bitter taste is the awful mix - Gillan way too high at times and the very muddy sound which drowns Airey and Paice. I'm sure there is interesting stuff going on at times - female backing etc. but for me it's a missed opportunity. Old Cov still leads the way with production values. .....Meurig Thomas

I guess like anyone else my expectations were a little too high. On the whole I think that this album is the best of the Steve Morse era but it will never match the likes of In Rock or Machine Head. Whereas In Rock gets a 10 out of 10, Bananas will have to do with a 6.5. Sorry folks. But the old Purple days are over. No hard feelings but this is just one man's opinion ....Rudy Vergauwen. Antwerp / Belgium

I've played the album probably 5-6 times now, it's definately a grower. Not the best album I've ever heard, but then who else is writing and playing traditional rock music as well as this these days? I think House of Pain is a great opener but I think the album then dips a bit up until Walk On, which is a cracker. After that I think the album is consistently good with some wonderful musical breaks and solos on Pictures of Innocence, I've Got Your Number and Bananas in particular. I don't think it is as good as Purpendicular but perhaps that just shows in retrospect what a great album that was! Despite some silly lyrics, I think Gillan sounds very assured and Airey fits in reasonably well, although he lacks the subtlety of Jon Lord. Overall then, I think it's a good record, but having taken 5 years to make it, you wonder if it will be their last. Lets hope not. ....Kenny Mathers

Bonjour Simon. For me it's just a Gillan/ Morse cd, they've lost the Purple sound ! Happily they are better on stage!!!! ...Thierry Pierron

The album is not worth the loads of cheap Sgt. Pepper talk, but I feel relief after listening. It’s not another Abandon, which I was totally disappointed with. The band sound great - Don has built up a wonderful, monstrous sound. Steve at last fits the general mix with clear, low, heavy riffing. He’s a marvelous composer – his instrumentals are astonishingly beautiful. They make the best moments, though Never... should be instrumental in entirety.

Most mixed feelings relate to the compositions. The Gillan-Bradford tandem completely failed. The opener lousily covers All Night Long, and Walk On must be a Dire Straits tribute, or the worst possible Mistreated remake. Haunted is dreadful, in most aspects. Others make it, mostly, though they have awfully simple structures sometimes, too predictable for Purple trademarks. Thank God, there still are great cuts. Sun Goes Down - a blaster. Could fit Born Again, one of the best rockers by the Morse band. Bananas combines '69 with Purpendicular Waltz (rhythm breaks), the soloing part is fan(t)a(s)tic. Silver Tongue has great riff and drive, though the verse is monotonous. I've Got Your Number has the most complex structure - they worked it out superbly. Good album, Abandon avenged. Martin Karski, Wroclaw, Poland

How many bands could, after some 35 years recording, release something as diverse and pleasing as Bananas? I'd say not many. After a 5 year wait since Abandon, Bananas is rockin, bluesy, funky, soulful, melodic, and powerful.... encompassing the very best of the line up which is The New Deep Purple. House of Pain (a great traditional rock & roll song), Haunted (with its beautiful Morse solo), Sun Goes Down, Razzle Dazzle, (hey it's a pop song.. it's easy on the what!) The delightful Walk On, etc etc.. it's great!! The new CD hasn't been off my player since my friendly local record shop kindly sold me an advance copy last Saturday..It's different...It's Bananas.. buy it.. If you like Rock, you'll love it
...Peter Fergusson, Dumfries

I love it. After a week of heavy rotation I´m still excited. House Of Pain is a strong opener. Razzle Dazzle is funny and catchy. I just can´t get it out of my mind, humming it all the way to work every morning. Haunted is, well, haunting and Doing It Tonight should be the next single, followed by Walk On. Don is doing an exellent job throughout, Sun Goes Down being especially impressive. (I'm ashamed to confess that I don´t miss Jon too much on this record.) Only Steve seems to play a little restrained, though on Never A Word and Contact Lost he finally shows pure emotion instead of technique. Big Ian is singing with power, lust and confidence, and with every new song he is going from strength to strength. This well could be his personal musical testament, stretching from Sabbathical darkness (Sun Goes Down) to the fragile tenderness of Episode Six (Never A Word). Purple´s Sgt. Pepper this is not, nor is it In Rock Pt.II. But BANANAS puts Purple into the new century with pride. The album is definitely as strong as Purpendicular was, and to these ears as interesting and varied as WDWTWA and Fireball. I love it. So forget those grumblings and come taste the band! ....Ernst Lüders, Hamburg, Germany

I cannot praise this album enough. As far as I am concerned the band are stretching into musical realms hitherto unknown for Purple. Stand out tracks Pictures of Innocence, Walk On, Silver Tongue & Haunted (For Steve's Guitar Break) but all the tracks are great. Yes Razzle Dazzle is a straight rock song and Never A Word is a surprise but I like them all. We wanted new material and we have got it. Was it worth the 5 year wait?…Absolutely. Mike McBain

At this stage of the game it's a good, solid record. Does anyone seriously believe that a reunited Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath or the Who could produce an album that significantly bettered Bananas? I don't. "Silver Tongue," "Picture of Innocence," and "Sun Goes Down," are all first-rate. "House Of Pain" and "I've Got Your Number" aren't far behind. "Razzle Dazzle" could be considered a goof, but I think the silly title has some prejudiced against what isn't a really bad song. On the lesser side, "Haunted" is a misguided stab at getting radio play. Dead wood that should have been rejected are "Walk On," which after repeated listens still strikes me as aimless noodling, and "Doing It Tonight" is lyrically more suited to the likes of David Coverdale on Viagra (and musically it's second-rate). I'd rank Bananas the third-best reunion album, after Purpendicular and The House Of Blue Light (gripes about the production aside, the songs still hold up) and ahead of Perfect Strangers (take away "Knocking At Your Back Door" and the title track, and it's pretty patchy song-wise); Abandon (half the songs have interchangeable structures and melodies), The Battle Rages On... (Gillan's weakest vocals on record and Blackmore's shameless recycling from his Rainbow riff bag); and, last and least, Slaves & Masters (considering this anything but the bottom of the barrel for a great band is like arguing that Wings made better albums than the Beatles). ...Michael Rowett

I must say, as a fan since the very first album, Deep Purple have made a fresh start. I think all in all, a very good album, especially Haunted, a very good ballad ...Jack Almind , Denmark

Deep Purple has smacked 2003 in the mouth with more than a fistful of funky rock n roll songs! Gillan may be mixed up but he is singing better than he has done in a long time. The title track is steaming hot. Please put your hands together for Deep Purple, they have made an album that will capture the hearts and minds of their fans. ...Peter Back, Sweden

On first hearing; uninspired, throwaway and tired. On second hearing; better, some tracks start to grow. On third hearing; a big improvement; some strong songs and good ideas. Haven't listened a fourth time yet, so who knows. This one's definitely a "grower" which is apt but is it strong enough to take the band forward at this juncture in their careers? My overriding condemnation (is that the right word?) is what has Michael Bradford achieved other than putting Gillan out front in the mix? Can anyone honestly say this producer has opened up the band? And a parting shot on the packaging front; why won't bands invest in decent design and typography anymore? A fourth listen beckons ....Mark Smith

If Deep Purple made an album like Bananas in the seventies, their days would be over. Save your money. Christian Dahlgren, Sweden

Hi everyone ! I must say without Ritchie and Jon this is not DP for me. After first listening to the vinyl edition i thought - it's the best Gillan solo album!! The tracks are fresh and exciting.House of pain, sun goes down, walk on ,never a word , and haunted are my favourites. Bananas taste better than Abandon! Bon appetit. ...Jaroslaw Skulski

I didn't know what to expect, i was dissapointed with ABANDON,that sounded too samey,but BANANAS was a breath of fresh air,from the opener HOUSE OF PAIN a real purple belter ! ,SUN GOES DOWN,carries on in a strong vein,HAUNTED is simply beautiful,i got into this one on the first play.RAZZLE DAZZLE doesn't quite do it for me,SILVER TONGUE is o.k it maybe needs a few more listens,WALK ON is nice and bluesy with a nice groove,PICTURE OF INNOCENCE is already growing on me,I GOT YOUR NUMBER seems too repetitive,NEVER A WORD is good ,but reminds me of another song that i cant quite place,BANANAS rocks with some good drumming from paicey,DOING IT TONIGHT is not a typical purple song,but it is very immediate,albeit commercial,CONTACT LOST beautiful,but too short.Overall this is a good album,it doesn't have the surprise of PURPENDICULAR,but outranks THE BATTLE RAGES ON and ABANDON.Summing up a good album from a band who have given us alot over the years,do bear in mind there are only finite riffs and lyrical musings,given the state of todays laughable music scene,Deep purple shows how it should be done,after all they could have retired after ritchie left,but never,and have taken Deep purple to new heights and a younger audience.Keep rocking guys !. ....Terry o'grady. London

I'll keep this short and sweet. Excellent production, although I'm afraid I can't really tell the difference that Micheal Bradford has made. It's probably better that it's not obvious that a new producer is in tow. As for the actual songs, I like them all, although the female backing vocals at the end of Haunted ruin a perfectly good song, they don't add anything. The real proof in the pudding will be in which songs are trotted out live which will show us what faith they have with the new stuff. Judging by the two previous albums, not enough chances were / are taken. The old set is now very tired, almost rock by numbers. I rest my case by referring anybody who saw Lynyrd Sknyrd recently and the amount of new stuff (off a truly amazing album) they did. Support act opening with a new number that nobody had heard of? Steady. ...Clive Robey

Well after a 5 year wait I must say the wait was worth it. The opening track HOUSE OF PAIN rocks out of the speakers, a perfect opener for the album. Having Don Airey on Keyboards hasn't done the band any harm at all. When you listen to the album, it is a band having fun and enjoying what they're doing. Steve Morse's guitar playing is outstanding. Ian's voice is just awesome throughout the album. Roger's bass as always is dominant on every track, he proves he's one of the best bass players this country has. Ian Paice does a magnificent job. The stand out track that will have you singing in the aisles is WALK ON. WELL worth buying. ....Jan Starchild

i remember hearing abandon for the first time and i just didnt get it, it took a few listens to all come together and i think this album, although the content is entirely different, is going to get under my skin in much the same way. on hearing the sound bites online, through my computer speakers i thought the sound was very dissapointing, i thought ians vocals were too far forward on a few of the tracks, though i really liked the sound of, walk on, and razzle dazzle. i looked forward to getting the cd and after a small delay it finally arrived this morning and has been in the cd player ever since. My fears about the sound were unfounded. it had me dancing immediately and its still growing. My favourite tracks are,Walk on, Razzle Dazzle and Doing it Tonight , though i have no doubt they will vary according to what mood i'm in at the time of listening. the only track which to me seems out of place is never a word. but hey , who knows, given time it may still grow on on me. on the whole it has all the recent classic deep purple elements, just put together in a slightly different manner. And i personally cannot see anything wrong with that give it time and watch it grow.....i love it. ....Pippa Beech

Well after the disastrous NEC concert i was hesitant to buy the new album. I had even thought about listening to it first, but ended up taking the plunge and buying it. I must say i have been pleasantly surprised and like the album a lot. Sgt.Pepper it is not though. Its nice that Steve`s guitar is varied, i feel that some of his stuff is getting a bit repetitive, especially live these days. Although the majority of his music is brilliant, i am afraid that it would be nice to here Ritchie's sound once in a while, we know steve can sound like him beacause he did in the early days. The album though is a good 8/10 with only two tracks that i need to listen to a few more times to decide on. ...Ashley Cobb

After 4-5 listens, I can say that the new album is totally disappointing. I also listened to the weaker reunion LP's like That Battle Rages On and Abandon after the new one to compare. I think the new one isweaker than both. A couple of months ago I read that the album was an essential release for EMI. But unfortunately I do not think that it will be a commercial success. Anyway, thank god for the new Glenn Hughes album. It's the best release from Purple camp in years! ...Tarik Burcoglu, Turkey

I have listened to the entire CD several times and the result is....well, it rocks! The whole band is simply in great form. And the winner is...Don... who is superb throughout. For me, there's no weak track on it, though some songs are a bit unexpected. But, it's good to see the band branching out a little. The only thing is that I wish some songs were longer, and that they had been developed further. Sun Goes Down, Silver Tongue, Bananas or Doing It Tonight would have deserved a more epic treatment. And why was Contact Lost so short? Let's hope the band will give us extended versions on stage. All in all, not the best Purple album, but certainly the best offering in the Morse era. So pleaaase come back to France to play those songs! ....J.J Dugay

Have had the album for a week, and whilst the high points are high the low points are already resulting in some serious skipping of tracks. The 'skippers' are... "Haunted" - an OK song but Gillan sounds so nasal, "Razzle Dazzle" - does exactly the opposite, "Pictures of Innocence" - just lacks any kind of strong melody for me, "Never a Word" - a sweet song instrumentally but if I want to hear Enya vocals I'll put on an Enya album, she does it far better! The 'hot tracks' are... "Sun Goes Down" - great nasty vibe, almost Purple/Sabbath, "Walk On" - good slow blues, beautifully ambient instruments and a cool message in the lyrics, "I've Got Your Number" - the only 'classic' from this album, has a great chorus hook mixed with some serious playing, "Bananas" - not the greatest song but the Airey / Morse dualing section is shit hot... even puts "Cascades" in the shade! To summarise... Purpendicular knocks spots off Bananas, there is no comparison, and in many ways I prefer Abandon's grittiness. Bananas, I can take it or leave it, can't see it becoming a regular on my CD player. ...Simon C

I am thrilled to report that Bananas is on par with Purpendicular, in my book. So far, the only weak link seems to be “Haunted”, which is also tolerable after a beer or three. “Silver Tongue” has an infectious groove, with the vocal melody borrowing heavily on “Evil Eye” from AOP, and is such a cool song. Lots of variety in this album - “Picture of Innocence” has a shuffle similar to “Almost Human” from Abandon, while “Walk On” is a really cool, laid back tune; “Bananas” is an out-and-out rocker, and works much better than ’69 off “Abandon” in this respect. “House of Pain” is a rocker in the established tradition, while “Razzle Dazzle” is the “Call of the Wild” of this album, with a catchy melodic hook that I just love. The production is light years ahead of any other DP record, and my only complaint is that Don’s organ is mixed a little low at times. DP sounds more like a band on this record than a group of five outstanding musicians, for which Bradford can claim due credit. Bananas will be a fixture in my CD players and my MD player for a long time. ...Mahesh Srinivas, SF Bay Area, USA

All i can say is i like it , its better than abandon which was too samey , it's a worthy follow up to purpendicular , steve morse plays very well and shows he can do the slower things. There are only two tracks that i don't like, razzle dazzle and i've got your nunber (it was better in its previous incarnation) , steve's guitar on walk on is great , doing it tonight has such a groove that i've not heard from purple since , maybe place in line, pictures of innocence has good lyrics typical gillan - isms(?) , all in all a good and enjoyable album , but not classic. On saying that i'd recommend it to a purple fan who might have doubts. My marks out of 10 , 7.5 James Spackman

After listening to the new album 5-6 times I've come to the conclusion that it is very, very good! It is much better than Abandon. If is better than Purpendicular we'll see in time...There are no bad songs. For me the highlights are the great opener House of Pain, the title track Bananas and the song that should be the next single: Doing It Tonight. Congratulations guys. Everybody's going Bananas for the Brazilian Tour! ...Leandro Granella, Brazil

I received a copy of BANANAS today and I must admit I’m fairly shocked. Is this the band that got me into rock ‘n’ roll back in 1984, whose early output I still consider to be among the best music in mankind’s history? Hell no. OK, Gillan’s never been much of a poet in the first place, but in the past it somehow didn’t seem to matter much whereas on this one it makes the songs simply unbearable: “Haunted - wanted”, “fire – desire” and the rest is so clichéd it hurts. Musically it’s all pretty homogenous, ranging on a scale from embarrassing to obnoxious, with the exception of ‘Never A Word’ which I wouldn’t want to be played on my worst enemy’s funeral. I guess nobody would have expected them to come up with another classic but this one is even more uninspired than Gillan’s early 90s solo stuff. They’ve been wrecking their own legend ever since opting against disbanding in ’93 and carrying on with Steve Morse instead. I wish they’d at least had the integrity to take on a new band name with Superfluous Old Men being the obvious choice, certainly after the listening pleasure that BANANAS provides. ...Stefan Kappler, Germany

I know I'm late but I just wanted to add something to the "First Reactions"-site. A lot has been written about songs sounding a bit like other songs and I guess I recognized some too. House of Pain starts with the riff of Take it off the Top (though Steve doesn't even get a credit) Haunted reminds me of Loving on Borrowed Time from Naked Thunder and so on...but that's the usual trainspotting I think. But this one really made me wonder: When I first heard Never a Word it reminded me of a guitar piece by English/German guitarist Klaus Weiland that was used as a signature tune of a German TV-station in the 80s - and it is called Das Loch in der Banane (The hole in the banana). Coincidence or what? Before I go: It is a good album in my book. Best regards ...Thomas Max

This album is a winner, from start to finish! Purple are back - and I really mean it. I absolutely love this album - just as much as I love Purpendicular, Perfect Strangers and Machine Head. It combines the heavy rocking side of Purple with the more melodic and sweet side. They've tried to do it several times before, but sometimes they've had problems making it work. Not this time. A track like "Haunted" only grows the more you listen. "House of Pain" is a great opener. "I've Got Your Number" is already a classic with a lovely middle-section. "Silver Tongue" and "Bananas" are probably my favourite tracks, but it's hard to pick out a favourite when even fillers like "Doing it Tonight" and "Razzle Dazzle" are good. "Contact Lost" gives this album the most beautiful ending it could possibly have. So is it Deep Purple's Sgt. Pepper? No, but as long as it's this good it doesn't have to be! ... David Wigerthsson, Sweden

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A special review of the album (as seen from a fruitmonger's perspective) by Ted The Greengrocer. Read it and salivate...


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