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Brand X

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.25 | 83 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Shakespeare
3 stars As the jazz slowly dissolved from their sound, Brand X began to divide in two. A more commercial half, led by Phil Collins' vocals, and the jazzier, more instrumentally-focused half, were contrasting, but not necessarily clashing. However, this style of commercial jazz that was accidentally developed here sounds wonderful, and a few more explicit ventures into both specific territories adds diversity. Also, Phil's singing has rarely been so inspired, and the musicianship and complexity of the songwriting cannot be overstated. On top of that, we have a slew of excellent riffs and melodies, and a subtlety compelling atmosphere.

All playing: drums, bass, guitar, keys, is not only very precise and sharp, and not only speedy and flashy, but amazingly inspired and convicted. Feel is a focus, and we've been supplied aplenty. Especially on the more adventurous, jazzier songs, the intricate arrangements, and the sometimes-boggling timing is played accurately, and Phil's use of the hi-hat is phenomenal, and even gives a little nod back to the drumming he did on Unorthodox Behavior. The interplaying and interaction between the instruments is very interesting to listen to. Sound quality and production are top-notch, and remarkable and elaborate album art adds another dimension of creativity.

What's more, this album never grows tedious or dull. Though there are many silent breaks, and much playing that isn't exactly vigorous, the compositions (primarily the longer ones) evolve perpetually, and show a perfect time line from the slow but tight beginning, to a more energetic and very powerful climax. And as if the incredible musical aspects of the album weren't enough, there's a few pretty moments of the album that add an emotional diversion from the musically-focused aspect, making it a balanced experience.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |

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