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Brand X - Unorthodox Behaviour CD (album) cover


Brand X


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 364 ratings

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4 stars It has Phil Collins, a smooth jazz and a technical fusion: 8/10

Phil Collins always hinted his ultimate power wasn't really unleashed while in GENESIS. Granted, some songs from the band required a strong performance, yet it wasn't sufficient to showcase the full extent of his abilities - even if it did indicate he had concealed potential within his heart. BRAND X, on the other hand, permitted him a technical freedom where right on its debut he was sure to ferociously showcase all his abilities. Straight ahead, in Nuclear Burn, his nonchalant might is so intense it probably would make a CTTE Bill Bruford blush. It did, no pun intended, blow me away, as I believe it did to many others.

Nuclear Burn sets the mood impeccably: it has a lightly jazzy background thanks to Lumley's smooth Fender Rhodes piano, a groovy bass by Percy Jones, John Goodsall's intense guitar performance and the highly dynamic Phil Collins rhythm. All musicians play in equal intensity and vivacity, none of them stealing the spotlight, all of them delivering state-of-art musicianship and melodies. It seems that, right on the first track, BRAND X shows us UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOR's climax: they managed to use technical efficiency to create a highly enjoyable environment, rather than it being just an excuse to do some technical wankery.

BRAND X is, at least technically, an impressive band, on the likes of RETURN TO FOREVER and MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. They, too, exhibit that lighthearted atmosphere typical of "technical jazz fusion" albums, although they are much less ambitious (in comparison to MAHAVISHNU's symphonic tendencies or RETURN TO FOREVER's avant-garde leanings), much less complex, and deeply rooted in calm jazz before anything else. For as technical it might get, it's as smooth as Polynesian canoes sailing through Polynesia. The ocean they voyage through is the PACIFIC Ocean. Try to imagine how smooth that must be. Hint: just as smooth as UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOR.

Was the first track the album's culmination, after all? I think it was. Luckily, Nuclear Burn is an amazing song on a great album, so the other tracks, while not captivating as it, are individually great. Some stray to smoother objectives, such as Euthanasia Waltz; others prefer a ROMANTIC WARRIOR-esque approach to create a surreal ambiance with catchy Moog riffs, all that while creating a strangely dreamy ambience - whose experimentalism truly seems to be an Unorthodox Behavior for jazz fusion. Whatever it is the song's purpose, it's well executed. The quartet were able musicians, after all.

If you don't want absurd complexity, although you do want some complexity; if you want melody, although you do not want too much melody; if you want a badass Phil Collins, although you think Phil Collins isn't badass; I got a name for ya. It starts with the second letter of the alphabet and ends with the second last letter. (as long as you pretend Y is not a letter.)

Luqueasaur | 4/5 |


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