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Brand X - Livestock CD (album) cover


Brand X


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 81 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars There are many, many people who were never aware that Phil Collins split time between Genesis and Brand X; especially those who only know (ye gods!) of his solo career and ultimately, his unfortunate (for us) sellout.

Brand X was a study in hyper-speed and crazy time signatures. Ultimately as much a fusion jazz album as progressive rock, this - and the first two - Brand X release competed with the best of fusion bands of its time: Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever. What set them apart from the aforementioned is a bit of a leaning towards the tongue-in-cheek and a bit of the bizarre (lyrically, when applicable).

This stands as one of the best-resorded live albums of the 70's and beyond. It's likely that the recording was enhanced in the studio (see Frank Zappa's "Roxy and Elsewhere"), but it doesn't detract from the feeling that this band could really *cook* live. The first track (Nightmare Patrol) starts on an eery, otherworldly fade-in, and culminates with a thudding *thwonk!* from the fretless bass of Percy Jones.

All the new tracks are very good and different from one another. Isis Mourning is perhaps my favorite, with Morris Pert adding inventive and eclectic percussive bursts. The old (previously released) tracks are also quite well done, with the last track, Malaga Virgen, being ripped by the band at an even more furious tempo than on its studio counterpart.

All in all, this is a mind-numbing excursion into the surreal and the incredible interplay between musicians Goodsall, Lumley, Jones, Collins and Pert. I felt this album culminated a tremendous start, and ultimately the band went downhill after Collins left and John Goodsall's fingers plagued with tendonitis.

beebs | 4/5 |


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