Deep Purple’s first album since last year’s departure of vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist/composer Roger Glover is a passable but disappointing effort. On Burn, new lead singer David Coverdale sounds suitably histrionic, like Free’s brilliant Paul Rodgers (rumored to have been Purple’s first replacement choice). But the new material is largely drab and ordinary, without the runaway locomotive power of the group’s best work.
The title track is a notable exception, attractively energetic, with appropriately speedy instrumental breaks. And “Sail Away” is a Free-like mesmerizer. “Mistreated” again sounds like that lamentedly extinct group, but is flaccidly lengthy (7:25).
They fill out the LP with the relentlessly mediocre single “Might Just Take Your Life,” the stodgy blues-rocker “What’s Goin’ On Here,” the commonplace Cream-like funk riffs and harmonies of “You Fool No One,” and with a tedious Moog/bolero instrumental retread applying the coup de grace. Much of the LP is skillfully wrought and likable, and the new line-up has potential. But the Gillan/Glover spark that created “Highway Star” and other memorable Purple smokers is regrettably absent.