Deep Purple had kicked off the '70s with a new lineup and a string of brilliant albums that quickly established them (along with fellow British giants Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath) as a major force in the popularization of hard rock and heavy metal. All the while, their reputation as one of the decade's fiercest live units complemented this body of work and earned them almost instant legendary status. But with 1973's disappointing Who Do We Think We Are -- the fourth and final studio outing by the original run of Purple's classic Mark II lineup -- all the fire and inspiration that had made the previous year's Machine Head their greatest triumph mysteriously vanished from sight. Vastly inferior to all three of its famous predecessors, the album revealed an exhausted band clearly splintering at the seams. Except for opener "Woman From Tokyo," which hinted at glories past with its signature Ritchie Blackmore riff, the album's remaining cuts are wildly inconsistent and find the band simply going through the motions. In fact, many of these don't so much resemble songs as loose jam sessions quickly thrown together in the studio with varying degrees of enthusiasm. "Mary Long" and "Super Trouper" are prime examples, featuring generic solos from Blackmore and organist Jon Lord, and uncharacteristically inane lyrics from soon-to-be former singer Ian Gillan. With its start-stop rhythm and Gillan's fine scat singing, the energetic "Rat Bat Blue" is a memorable exception to the rule, but the yawn-inducing blues of "Place in the Line" and the gospel mediocrity of "Our Lady" bring the album to a close with a whimper rather than a shout. [A painfully revealing display of a legendary band grinding to a halt, Who Do We Think We Are was reissued in 2000 with the added incentive of seven bonus tracks and new liner notes by bassist Roger Glover].
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia