- the official site

“Shapshot” review by Euan McLeod

It took three or four listens but this album has been dominating my CD player both at home & work for the last two weeks. I am struck with it’s melody, it’s maturity, it’s range of musical styles & it’s sheer beauty. I have often explained to friends that the appeal of Deep Purple is not just in the music they make together but also in the various solo offerings that have emerged since the early 70’s. This album flies high with the likes of Pictured Within, Rising, Gillan’s Japanese Album, Accidentally On Purpose, Hughes-Thrall , Private Eyes & The Mask as an example of sublime musicianship & songwriting.

Snapshot moves me on a musical & emotional level in a way that few albums of the last 30 years have. It is not about instrumental chops, rocking out, or hummable choruses, instead the music is very groove-focused & wanders through a range of musical styles – folk, blues, country, lightweight rock & reggae. The guitar work, drumming & Hammond organ is elegant & tasteful without going over the top. As for the bass playing, you weren’t expecting solos were you? This album is about Roger’s songs, not his 4-string.

There is no Deep Purple bombast here. Instead there is that band’s overlooked musical subtlety & range without the hard rock overtones. The lyrics are, as you would expect from Rog, intelligent, thoughtful, humorous, & obscure in places – surely “When It Comes To You” is the lyrical distant cousin of Gillan’s “Dancing Nylon Shirt”.

A special moment is daughter Gillian’s lead vocals on the beautiful & haunting “The Bargain Basement”. She has a strong clear voice which she uses to complement the mood of the song perfectly.

Gov’t Mule (& ex Allmans) guitarist Warren Hayes contributes to a couple of tracks, his slide & steel guitar on the swampy southern blues of “Queen Of England” are especially enjoyable. And it’s nice to welcome back Mickey Lee Soule who plays piano on two tracks.

My singular complaint about the album is the fact that RG sings one on track only. OK, he isn’t a Gillan, Hughes or Coverdale, but Roger’s voice to me has a warmth, character & natural charm unparalleled by his more vocally illustrious peers. I love The Mask & was hoping for more of the same & can’t help feeling that, as fine a talent as Randall Bramblett is, Rog could have done equal or better justice to his own songs. Next time eh Rog, & don’t leave it 18 years or I’ll be bloody 60!

Snapshot is a wonderful ‘snuggling on the couch in front of the fire with a red wine’ album & I sincerely recommend it to anyone with a broad musical appreciation. The “Deep Purple’s bass player” sticker on the front does it an injustice as this album stands proud on it’s own merits.

As a certain great bass player/producer/artist/photographer/God knows what else said on some years ago… “the world is your musical oyster bar …”. Try this album on for size, you won’t be disappointed!