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Brand X

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Brand X Is There Anything About? album cover
3.01 | 79 ratings | 4 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ipanaemia (4:30)
2. A Longer April (7:00)
3. Tmiu-Atga (5:07)
4. Swan Song (5:30)
5. Is There Anything About? (7:52)
6. Modern, Noisy, and Effective (3:56)

Total Time: 33:55

Line-up / Musicians

- John Goodsall / guitar
- Robin Lumley / keyboards, backing vocals, co-producer
- John Giblin / bass, backing vocals
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion
- Peter Robinson / keyboards (6)
- Percy Jones / bass (6)

- Raphael Ravenscroft / saxophone (2)
- Stephen Short / drum machine (4), backing vocals, co-producer
- Ed Carson / handclaps (3)

Releases information

These tracks are outtakes from the Product (1979) sessions.

Artwork: Bill Smith

LP CBS ‎- CBS 85967 (1982, UK)

CD Columbia ‎- 484437 2 (1996, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BRAND X Is There Anything About? ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

BRAND X Is There Anything About? reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
3 stars Looking back over some of the earlier BRAND X reviews, they're terribly dull. Hardly a fitting tribute to a band with a sense of humor, so I'll try to have a little fun with this one, especially since the limp arrangements on "Is There Anything About?" invite an idle mind to wander. Usually it's a simple matter to write humor, but the cat has me contemplating dark designs this morning. My next pet is going to be something small and ephemeral like a gerbil or a guinea pig. They're like pet temps really, a means to gauge if the position needs to be filled full time. Rodents are also death primers; the wading pool of the great grieving where children first learn about death and loss and the importance of keeping shoe boxes. (Darn that cat, I've veered far off Funny Lane.) Guinea pigs and gerbils are the 98-ounce weaklings of the rodent family. They live in a cage most of the time, and the minute they get out into the real world it's curtains. It's like some primal death instinct, waiting for the perfect moment to escape and cash out of their little lives. A neighbor once released their gerbil into the woods after it bit them. Not the most ingenious escape plan for a gerbil, but their options are kind of limited. Oh, they probably start out with grand designs, thinking "If I could just get a rubber band and a D cell battery and some copper wiring" and by week two the lack of adequate exercise and intellectual stimulation has narrowed the plan to "Eh, I'll just bite 'em." So the gerbil was released into the woods to seek his fortune in a Disneyesque tale that promised adventure, self-discovery, maybe even a little romance. At least for those first few minutes before it was eaten by a cat or a hawk or forced to work as an acorn accountant in the hollow of a tree by opportunistic squirrels. I imagine that first exchange with another animal was sort of awkward. "Where can you find the food dish that's always full? At the end of a rope, my friend." And like an old watch, or the career of BRAND X, the gerbil simply wound down and stopped. But if you'd like, we'll give them both a better ending. We'll say the gerbil found an abandoned mouse home and quickly adapted to his new surroundings. He became a night creature, scurrying through the grass and scampering into the kitchens of nearby houses to steal morsels for his family (yes, he had found romance and married a mole, for love is indeed blind). And he lives to this day, because he has the will to live, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even great-great-great grandchildren spellbound at his worn furry knees to hear his tales of adventure: from the time he rode a sharp-shinned hawk using nothing but a plastic six-pack string to the night he crawled into the not-quite empty Schnapps bottle and performed a tomato can solo with a band of equally intoxicated cats.

As for BRAND X, the band dispersed to its atomic elements only to re-form a decade later and tickle the faithful yet again. But I haven't answered your question. Is there any reason to purchase "Is There Anything About?" Yes, if you want to own it just to own it (completists who can't abide an unscratchable itch). Despite the circa seventy-nine lineup, this isn't a return to Product's eclectic mixture of pop and fusion, though "Soho" does cast its shadow on the instrumental "Noisy, Modern And Effective" It's otherwise a mild record, a somewhat disinterested winding down that includes an unscripted demo ("TMIU-ATGA") and smooth jazz where streaks of defiant oddball strangeness once ran.

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The most mystifying chapter from Brand X's already relatively opaque and messy history. As is known to fans, in early 1979 Brand X recorded a whole bunch of songs with different line-ups that were used to fill up the albums Product (1979), Do They Hurt? (1980) and Is There Anything About? (1982). The last of these was released two years after the band had broken up. One might assume that the record company refused to release it earlier because they didn't deem it commercially viable, but was the market really that much more friendly to this kind of music in 1982 than in 1980? And did the band members really still want this patchwork, consisting of two new songs, two remixes of old songs and two leftover improvisations, to be put out after three years? Why is the track listing so strange and why does producer Steven Short receive two songwriting credits when he wasn't involved with the other two albums and couldn't have been present when these songs were originally recorded?

There seems to be very little information about this album on the web but my theory initially was that what remained of the recordings was handed over to Short, either by the band members out of contractual obligation or by the record company who wanted to milk these for all they were worth, who then recorded some overdubs and put this album together without the involvement of any former Brand X member. Amusing though this idea might have been to me, it was sadly debunked when I bought the CD and read the liner notes which reveal that, at the very least, keyboard player Robin Lumley was involved with the release to a large degree, but no John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Phil Collins or any other Brand X alumni.

I believe the opening track "Ipanaemia" is the only song on here that was at the time of its recording intended for release in the same form as it's presented here. "Swan Song" credits Short for co-writing as well as "syndrums and vocals", which leads me to believe that this may have originally been an improvisation that was later overdubbed and reworked into a proper song by Lumley and Short. "A Longer April" is of course a reworking of "April" from the Product album, turning what was once just a pleasant filler track into a more full-fledged song in its own right, but the sax part must have been recorded in 1982 as well. Likewise, "Modern, Noisy And Effective" just reuses the backing track from "Soho" (also from Product), and the rest of it must have also been played by Lumley no earlier than 1982 as it's synth only and sounds more like Yellow Magic Orchestra than Brand X (a YouTube commenter noted the, likely coincidental, similarity to the Rainbow Road theme from Mario Kart 64, which now makes me unable to control my laughter every time I hear the song). The final two tracks like I said are just some leftover jams. Actually, calling TMIU-ATGA ("They're Making It Up As They Go Along") a jam is bit of an overstatement; it's more like a sound check. It adds to the humour for me because it contributes to my impression that they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel when putting this album together.

But the craziest part is that I actually like it. There's a charm to it all, and everything comes together just nicely enough to keep your interest for its short running time. It may be the weakest album from this era of the band but for fans it is still worth the effort of seeking out.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Hmmm... Brand X has released some of the best fusion stuff ever. That said, this album, as stated in earlier reviews, sounds like some of the left-overs or outakes from "Do They Hurt", which in itself sounded like the left-overs from "Product". Not sure I understand slamming Phil Collins for ... (read more)

Report this review (#86063) | Posted by | Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars sounds more like a contractural commitment than the idea of breaking into the 80's. Too light in comparison with early work but yet there are a couple of tracks that deserve listening. maybe the leftovers of the two previous albums. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23110) | Posted by | Sunday, January 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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