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Brand X

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Brand X Product album cover
3.32 | 156 ratings | 16 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Don't Make Waves (5:08)
2. Dance of the Illegal Aliens (6:52)
3. Soho (3:47)
4. Not Good Enough- See Me! (7:27)
5. Algon (where an ordinary cup of drinking chocolate costs . (6:07)
6. Rhesus Perplexus (4:06)
7. Wal to Wal (3:09)
8. ...And So To F... (6:34)
9. April (2:40)

Total Time: 48:50

Line-up / Musicians

- John Goodsall / guitar, vocals (2,4)
- Robin Lumley / keyboards & sounds (1,3,5,6,8,9)
- Peter Robinson / keyboards, sounds & vocals (2,4)
- John Giblin / bass (1,3,5-9)
- Percy Jones / bass (2,4,7)
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, vocals (1,3), Roland drum machine (7)
- Michael Clark / drums (2,4)
- Morris Pert / percussion (2,4)

Releases information

LP Charisma ‎- CAS 1147 (1979, UK)

CD Charisma ‎- CASCD 1147 (1989, UK)
CD Virgin ‎- CASCD 1147 (2004, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BRAND X Product ratings distribution

(156 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

BRAND X Product reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars The return of Collins and Lumley?. Was not necessarily a good thing, even if Masques showed the band's weaknesses, not that much in the songwriting, but in the waning inspiration of the collective soul of the group. If Lumley is back, Robinson that had replaced him is still there as well. While C & L play in six of the 9 tracks, there are two different drummers (Clarke >> Hancock's Head Hunters), but also Jones shares bass duty with John Giblin (with whom Collins work with on the John Martyn early 80's albums, but also plays in Peter Gabriel's solo efforts), thus creating a schizophrenic group, and the resulting album being just as weak (all things staying relative of course) as Masques was. A very ugly collage serves as artwork for an album that in some ways is very aptly titled.

Right from the first few seconds of the opening Don't Make Waves, we know we're in trouble when Phil starts singing? Nothing really all that catastrophic though, as the music behind Collins' Duke/Abacab-era vocals is still fairly impressive, a technical high-powered jazz-rock ala Colosseum II - I'm thinking of Strange New Flesh, here. Another sung track, Soho would fit on Collins' solo albums better than on a Brand X album and it definitely ruins the album. A bit further down the album, Giblin obviously heard the first Metheny albums as Rhesus Perplexus could easily come from Pat's repertoire. The double bass track proves the drop that overflowed the bucket?. a bassist diet

On the more instrumental and less "commercial" side, Illegal Aliens is a Jones-penned track where he over-exposes his bass, a bit the same Pastorius would, with all the excesses and disservices to the music. The second half of the track is much more balanced track, though. Not Good Enough is a cold over-calculated fusion piece where Jones is taking too much space (he's the writer, though) and if the musicianship is impressive, the lack of soul is also. The Lumley-penned Algon is probably the best track of the album along with Collins' And So to F---, both hot fusion pieces that hover around the best Santana stuff (Caravanserai) and RTF (warrior), while the album closes on the barely existing April

Definitely not BX's best album, it does have its moments beyond the useless virtuoso playing and the awful commercial tracks. The waning inspiration impression I had with Masque is only enhanced with this one and one can only think of the repeated formulae this album is delivering us, redundancy being the next step. Only the sheer and excellent musicianship and some bright moments stop me from rating this lower than the three stars

Review by The Owl
3 stars The title is rather telling here.

While the four previous Brand-X releases had a consistency to them, "Product" definitely shows obvious signs of Multiple Personality Disorder. Here, most likely under a lot of pressure from their management (hereafter referred to as "THE MAN"), Brand-X essentially splintered into two bands. The more adventurous half (with Percy Jones in the bass chair and ex Herbie Hancock's Headhunters drummer Mike Clarke), and the "Trying To Have A Hit At Any Cost" half (with Phil Collins and John Giblin on bass) seemed at odds with each other here. The "Phil Collins Half" is seen churning out cheese-whiz pop ("Soho") and even VERRRRRY BAD arena-rock ("Don't Make Waves") and even regurgitated Genesis ("And So To F---"). The 'Adventurous Half" hangs in there with gems like "Not Good Enough, See Me--", "Algon", the Pat Metheny-esque "Rhesus Perplexus" and "Dance of The Illegal Aliens". Another odd item is the dual bass feature "Wal to Wal" driven along by a robotic drum machine track. But anyway, THE MAN may well have led to Brand-X's dissolution in 1980, trying to have it both ways. "Product" does have some worthwhile moments on it, but hardly essential by any stretch.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is fusion. A wonderful loud and complex wal bass with some mellow bits. Piano a la GENESIS "Duke", percussions, often elaborated drums parts, some floating background keyboards, generous electric guitar parts, it sometimes sounds like Pat Metheny ("Rhesus Perplexus"), UZEB or Bill BRUFORD's solo albums. There is a track that reminds me GENESIS' "Los Endos". With Phil COLLINS' voice on "Soho" and "Don't Make Waves", you think about pop BRAND X songs like pop GENESIS' ones!! Definitely not their worst, but I prefer "Moroccan Roll" and "Unorthodox Behaviour".
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Never understood why this one always get's treaten with less respect than other Brand X releases. It seems that "Don't Make Waves" and "Soho" are the reason for this, most likely because they became singles after this album's release back in 1979. Well, I like those tracks actually and the other stuff here is excellent as well, although some of the tracks are a bit bizarre in a way. It trails slightly off at the end though, but the five first tracks here makes up for it, although they doesn't make this album a masterpiece, but still an excellent album.

Technically competent as always, and the sound is often dominated by Percy Jones fretless bass playing. The other musicians involved here delivers great performances as well, notably Phil Collins' drumming. This album is very underrated, in my opinion, but still, "Product" is more of a fans album rather than a causual listener album. I'll give it 4/5.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Am I wrong comparing Brand X with bands like Bruford (non earthwork), Return To Forever, Colosseum II, Weather Report or Jaco Pasorious solo or Allan Holdworth solo or Al Di Meola solo or Jean Luc Ponty? Probably. It's because they share similar vein: jazz rock fusion. Of course there many other bands in similar vein. I'm fully aware knowing their differences in styles and subtleties of sound produce with each of them individually has a very unique characteristic. But for me personally Brand X is a band that must have peculiar things we need to focus on whenever enjoying their album, including "Product". First off, I'd rather enjoy Phil Collins contribute singing (in addition to drumming) in Brand X like he does in "Don' Make Waves" (5:08) than his solo career or doing "More Fool Me" with Genesis. I can smell the uniqueness of his voice through this opening track that for me has helped a lot in putting strong character of Brand X music. Yes, you may say that the melody is a bit weird - but look at how Phil utilizes his talent to deliver his singing in this not really melodic track. Excellent.

"Product" is definitely not the band's best album but it gives us a sort of alternatives for what had already been there in music market at that time. On jazz / fusion sheme we knew excellent bass players like Stanley Clarke or Marcus Miller or Jaco Pastorius, but look at how Percy Jones and John Giblin play in this record. Awesome! Yeah, these two gentlemen know how to satisfy the listeners with their styles. And you can differentiate how these two gentlemen play differently. John Goodsall's guitar playing gives a good combination with keyboard work - mostly played by Robin Lumley and two tracks by Peter Robinson.

It's not the best album by Brand X but it's really worth collecting if you really enjoy jazz rock fusion. Keep on proggin' ..!

Review by Philo
2 stars When you play in a jazz rock band and your drummer is Phil Collins it may be a good idea to leave the singing to one side. Unfortunately guitarist John Goodsall and company took their eyes of the ball and allowed their more prominent drummer to srtetch his vocal chords. On first listen Product sounds an awful mess. The band have morphed into a generic song orientated act, the band have slipped into safe generic Brand X act and the band have taken on an new messy adventurous role.Yrs, all the same band, Brand X. All these strands only complicate the whole message Brand X were trying to get across, if they even had a message. It would look as if the band had run its course, and by the end of the 1970s all such acts were out to pasture. The songs with lyrics are not terrible but why the need for them now? When listening to the second track it comes a little more clear. "Dance of the Illegal Aliens" sounds like a track heard so many times before only now getting dull and old. The vocal exercise and dull musical romp of "Don't Make Waves" would have been best advice heeded by the band, and even too well heede at other points to add to the confusion! And while they do throw up some magic with the cool "Rhesus Perplexus"and the basstastic "Wal to Wal" much of the album is a mes of too many cooks, but bass players Percy Jones and John Giblin do an admirable job of adding a depth of humour and show of transendent skill to the whole packed of this expanded Brand X Product.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 2.5 stars, really. This album is far from Brand X's best, and, as a fusion album on its own, isn't all that great. This album seems a bit directionless, as many of the tracks keep the signature fusion sound, while some are just bland muzak-sounding; some even pop. Even though Brand X are a British fusion band by country, they honestly never encapsulated the actual British jazz sound that groups lke Nucleus had, probably due to a lack of wind instruments. Brand X is most similar to Weather Report or Return to Forever IMO, although they do keep British humor in the song/piece titles.

"Don't Make Waves" is pretty bland pop, and I actually enjoy Abacab! Honestly, it's a terrible opener and one of the worst songs on the album. "Dance," "Algon,"and "Not Good Enough" are by far the best tracks, but even they can leave the listener bored at times. "Rhesus Plexus" is quite catchy, but still reminds one of jazz muzak...well, it does to me anyways. The other tracks are fairly forgettable.

The first two Brand X albums for me are the most essential. Serious fans should give this album a listen, but this is definitely not for people interested in looking for a first Brand X album. 2.5 stars, there are better names and more original artists/bands in the genre that I would put ahead of Brand X. While somewhat enjoyable, this is primarily for the fans.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Unorthodox behaviour

Released in 1979, "Product" was Brand X's fourth studio album in as many years. The nature of the line up would appear indicate a degree of turmoil in the ranks, with none of the band members playing on every track. Phil Collins, who had been missing from the previous album "Masques", returned to the drums stool for 6 of the 9 tracks. With him came keyboard player Robin Lumley, who plays on the same tracks as Collins.

Surprisingly, the music is also subject to some significant diversity, as demonstrated by the opening "Don't make waves". This song, which was actually released as a single, is a lightweight, pop based number on which Phil Collins sings. Given that Brand X was always mooted as an escape for Collins from the strictures of Genesis, it does seem odd that he should lead the charge back towards the chart cravings which were plaguing Genesis.

Things turn towards the more orthodox Brand X product with the fusion based "Dance of the illegal aliens". Guitarist John Goodsall is the only band member from the first track to also play on this number, the bass, drums and keyboards positions all being filled by alternative members. The line up for this track also contribute "Not good enough, see me" a meandering, rather unfocused affair.

"Soho" sees the "Don't make waves" line up sounding more than ever like "Ababcab" era Genesis, with Collins pure pop vocals dragging the band far from their roots. This line up, which excludes bassist Percy Jones who is the catalyst for the two traditional tracks on side one, dominate the second side of the album, playing on all but one of the tracks. On side two however, their contributions are more in line with what we would expect from a Brand X album. This tends to disprove the theory that the two line ups were pulling in opposite directions, the misunderstanding arising through the two pop orientated songs on the first side.

The four tracks on side two which feature the Collins/Goodsall/Giblin/Lumley line up are straightforward jazz rock pieces, similar to those which appeared on previous Brand X albums. They do not do a lot for me, although "..and so to F.." has a spirited repetitive chant, but those who enjoyed the band's previous output should be satisfied with what they hear. The only other track on side two is a dull two basses and drums affair called "Wal to wal", the title referring to the type of basses used.

"Product" is an album which tends to split the fans of Brand X, mainly due to the presence of the two pop orientated numbers which Phil Collins sings on the first side. Those aside, this is a pretty standard Brand X album.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This was 1979. By this time, singer Phil Collins was just learning about what being a popular singer of pop songs means. The year before, he began his mission to turn what was left of Genesis into a popular pop band. And now...

Product. What a prophetic name.

Sure, Don't Make Waves was written by John Goodsall, and does have some cool bass playing by John Giblin, but it has that singer Phil Collin feeling. And don't get me started on Soho, the worst thing Brand X ever created.

The few tracks with Percy Jones are good. But how can a song with Percy Jones not be? And Phil Collins the drummer makes an appearance, on his own ...And So To F..., not a spectacular composition, but so well played as to be interesting.

Now Algon is more like the Brand X I love. This Robin Lumley piece features the tight playing and virtuosity I hope to hear from this band.Wal To Wal, a duet with Percy Jones and John Giblin is a bass players dream.

But the album just lacks consistency. It's too bad.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Bland, despirited, uninspired, schizophrenic. Perhaps Brand X was trying to be as successful as Genesis, maybe they were trying to become the first jazz fusion big band, maybe they were wanting to disband, and maybe they were wanting to do all of this at once. Product is, basically, goodbye Bran ... (read more)

Report this review (#455440) | Posted by JackFloyd | Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 develo ... (read more)

Report this review (#134172) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The fifth work of BRAND X released in 1979 "Product". Different work that two units separately recorded from difference of directionality of music. The unit of Phil Collins works on the Vocal tune, and gropes for a direction new because of the sound that approaches the more main stream fusion. ... (read more)

Report this review (#58984) | Posted by braindamage | Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An excellent album of great Brand X . Here they seem to find a balance between their Jazz rock fusion signature and some sort of 'song' oriented compositions. Totally unexpected and one of the freshest of their 70's lps. I have noticed that in this site the couple of albums that was Brand X in d ... (read more)

Report this review (#36477) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my favorite of all Brand X albums, because it has more character and quirkiness whereas the others are more generic 'fusion' albums. This one is a return to progressive forms, in Symphonic and Canterbury modes and there are even some moments reminiscent of Genesis and Yes. Not bad for ... (read more)

Report this review (#23100) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Thursday, February 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have to agree to an extent with the "multiple personality" comment, except that I dion;pt mind the blander stuff. Wish there were more nuclear burn, though. As far as the adventurous/hit split he mentions, it wasn't as rigid as that -not yet, anyway. Rhesus Perplexus and Algon had Coll ... (read more)

Report this review (#23099) | Posted by | Thursday, February 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First track rocks like a Rush song, and it is funny hearing Collins voice going on. Brand X here wants to be in line with what the best in fusion world is happening, from the after UK experiment, the Bill Bruford band works, to Pat Metheny and something of latin. The album got an excellent soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#23097) | Posted by | Saturday, June 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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