On very first listen, a lot of the album washed over me, leaving a generally positive, but honestly not too impressed or interested impression. With repeat listens however, it revealed itself to be not only a passable, or even above average affair, but a genuinely good one, with literally no weak tracks. It’s a grower for sure.
Usually, I really enjoy any Deep Purple album, and have enjoyed most Morse era albums to some extent, however sometimes they can feel like there is a bit of filler, or there’s a minor lack of consistency, stopping the albums feeling as great as the old days even when over half the album has some genuinely great songs. Now What?! is the perfect Morse era album, it all fits perfectly together, there’s variety yet consistency and all the songs are as good as the very best tracks on another Morse era album.
Highlights include the symphonic ‘Uncommon Man’ dedicated to the late Jon Lord, which feels like a mixture between Close To The Edge era Yes with Works era ELP, the energetic and memorable ‘Apres Vous’ which has a very catchy chorus, and the interesting and characterful single ‘Vincent Price’ although to be honest its all great.
The only real negative thing I can think to say is that the track order may undersell the album’s both power and variety. I listen to this record a lot but I often choose to listen to the record on random/shuffle now, and always find it a great and exciting album all the more for having done so, but that’s just personal preference, most people have no problems with that running order. Seriously, it’s a great album; the rhythm section are tight and steady, Airy and Morse make a real impact and Ian Gillan fits into his older vocal style more comfortably here than ever.
Overall; Now What?! is a very good album from the veteran Rock band, easily in the top fifty percent of their catalogue. It’s a well produced and well written collection of interesting songs, with a great sense of subtly, musicianship and even a few surprises. Check it out if you like Deep Purple, and especially if you’ve liked their modern output. And if you do check it out, don’t just listen to it once, give it a good few spins and really let it sink in, you’ll thank yourself for it after a while.