Deep Purple's third album brings a close to their first incarnation. While this line-up isn't as highly-regarded as the one that follows, it still impresses. Rod Evans wasn't quite up to Ian Gillan's standard, but his voice suited the band's style. Where they are lacking is in that dynamism and flamboyance that characterises later recordings. 'Chasing Shadows,' with its exotic rhythm, gets the album off to a good start, while 'Blind' features a great baroque performance on harpsichord by Jon Lord. Unfortunately, the quality is uneven from here on. Much of the album's worth hinges on their take on T.S. Eliot's 'cruellest month,' 'April.' It opens with some Gothic organ and a mildly haunting acoustic guitar line, but the strings in the middle section are drab and unnecessary. The track lacks impetus and simply isn't good enough to warrant its twelve minutes. The dark, bluesy 'Bird Has Flown' has character aplenty by comparison. Richie Blackmore employs the wah wah pedal liberally here, unlike on later albums. 'Deep Purple' is worth investigating for the fan who buys the later material, but not before.