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BRAND X

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Brand X picture
Brand X biography
Founded in London, England in 1975 - Hiatus from 1980-1992 - Disbanded in 1999 - Reformed in 2016

BRAND X is, no doubt about it, one the most original and well-known British groups of the seventies jazz/rock fusion scene. Made of musicians that are technicians at their respective instruments and that are as inspired as talented. There are really 2 BRAND X formations... the one from the mid 70s and the 1992 BRAND X. The original line-up of the band was formed by drummer Phil COLLINS of GENESIS with John GOODSALL (former ATOMIC ROOSTER) on guitar, Robin LUMLEY (a David BOWIE collaborator) on keyboards and Percy JONES (ex-LIVERPOOL SCENE) on bass. For them, the joy of playing and writing together was the main motivation. With various personnel permutations, they made typical progressive rock albums... all worth hearing! The 1992 BRAND X is GOODSALL, JONES and drummer Frank KATZ.

The band's discography starts in 1976 with "Unorthodox Behaviour" and goes on a year later with "Morrocan Poll", probably one of their best. "Is There Anything About" is the last release from this legendary jazz-rock band. After almost ten years of absence during the Eighties, "Xcommunication" is the return of BRAND X under the economical format of a trio (GOODSALL, JONES, and KATZ). They released a CD that is almost as good than on previous releases. "The X-Files" is a disc of live recordings and a disc of unreleased material. What else can be said, apart from the fact that it is another masterpiece in the Legend's discography.

Issued in June 2003, this three-CD (hence the "Trilogy" title) set includes "Live in New York" (1979) and the last two studio albums by the band: "Xcommunication" (1992) and "Manifest Destiny" (1996). A memorable collection - fans will know the last three working lineups of the band (17 years), but this is quite simply essential listening for prog listeners whose ears are as open as their memories are long.

See also: HERE

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BRAND X discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BRAND X top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 359 ratings
Unorthodox Behaviour
1976
4.07 | 271 ratings
Moroccan Roll
1977
4.08 | 174 ratings
Masques
1978
3.28 | 129 ratings
Product
1979
3.44 | 116 ratings
Do They Hurt?
1980
2.74 | 60 ratings
Is There Anything About?
1982
3.39 | 54 ratings
X-Communication
1992
3.25 | 47 ratings
Manifest Destiny
1997

BRAND X Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 92 ratings
Livestock
1977
2.69 | 24 ratings
Live at the Roxy LA
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Timeline
1999
3.79 | 25 ratings
Timeline
2000
3.20 | 5 ratings
Live From San Francisco
2015
3.40 | 5 ratings
Live From Ronnie Scotts
2015
2.50 | 2 ratings
Live from Chicago
2015
2.50 | 2 ratings
Live from New York
2016
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live from Stockholm
2016
3.33 | 6 ratings
But Wait... There's More! / Live 2017
2017
4.25 | 4 ratings
Locked & Loaded
2018

BRAND X Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.80 | 5 ratings
Brand X - Live - The Rites Of Spring
2018

BRAND X Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 10 ratings
X-Trax
1986
3.00 | 12 ratings
The Plot Thins - A History of Brand X
1992
3.40 | 5 ratings
...Featuring Phil Collins
1996
3.56 | 52 ratings
Missing Period
1997
4.00 | 8 ratings
Brand X - A History 1976-1980
1997
2.21 | 16 ratings
The X Files
1999
4.00 | 10 ratings
Trilogy
2003
4.11 | 9 ratings
Macrocosm: Introducing...Brand X
2003
4.33 | 9 ratings
Nuclear Burn
2014

BRAND X Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
X-Cerpts
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sun in the Night
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
Soho
1979

BRAND X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Do They Hurt? by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.44 | 116 ratings

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Do They Hurt?
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Brand X modernize their sound and streamline music further on the 1980's "Do they hurt". On the first track, we have a fantastic bass modern playing seconded by mediocre vocals, simplified drums and 80's keyboards. Wouldn't be surprised if it were inspired by Collins but it seems it wasn't! "Voidarama" has a warm fusion feeling of late 90's with twists of smooth jazz, I really like the sound of the song and guitar fiddling. The atmosphere is let down again by "Act of will" that is closer to new wave than fusion. "Fragile" is a typical experimental Brand X song that even sneaks into post-bop territory although more as a joke I guess. "Cambodia" is another guitar-heavy track, very accessible and far from complex. "Triumphant Limp" with Collins onboard offers a nice groove on cymbals. The best track comes at the end "D.M.Z" is a full-fledged fusion track with a killer bass-drum patter and fresh piano. You can evidence that the players did not take this record as seriously as the previous ones before in 1976-1978.
 Masques by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 174 ratings

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Masques
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Brand X still going strong even without Phil Collins behind the drum kit. The new drummer is on one side more poppy with way too simple beat structures and very complex in the long suites like "Deadly Nightshade" with its furious tempo or "The Ghost of Mayfield Lodge".

"Access Data" has become a popular concert number, it has a nice symbiose of groove, some instrumental complexity and still does not sound too cold and inaccessible - so has all attributes to capture the attention of most listeners. Keyboards and guitar shine through. "Black moon" is one of the first forays into smooth jazz, a lovely but drumwise very unchallenging track. "Earth dance" with subtle Latin influence is a dark horse on this album thanks to excellent drums, bass and keyboards, I think percussions contribute too.

"The Poke" has a memorable motive.

This is the last classic Brand X album since from 1979, pop-fusion thrash will start appearing on the albums.

 Livestock by BRAND X album cover Live, 1977
3.78 | 92 ratings

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Livestock
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars My favourite BRAND X album right here. I understand this was released between their first two studio albums making these first three recordings essential in my opinion. This is not a live album from one concert as we get Phil Collins playing drums on 3 tracks while Kenwood Dennard plays on the other 3 songs. It sure feels like one show though as the style of music is fairly consistent other than the fiery closer "Malaga Virgen" from "Moroccan Roll". The other strange thing is that besides the song I just mentioned we get "Euthenasia Waltz" from "Unorthodox Behaviour" while all the other songs are not on any of their studio albums. So 4 completely new tracks and all of these songs are flat out amazing to my ears. This is MY kind of music as we get a lot of intricate sounds coming and going and they don't seem to be in a rush for the most part, and of course all of these guys are gun slingers. John Goodsall, Phil Collins, Kenwood Dennard, Percy Jones, Robin Lumley and Morris Pert.

"Nightmare Patrol" is laid back to start then we get a calm a minute in before kicking in to a more powerful sound with guitar, drums and bass. I love how upfront the bass is throughout this album. It settles into a jazzy groove with piano helping out before settling back again before 3 minutes with some atmosphere. It's building then it settles back again like before. Some nice drum work a minute later then the guitar leads the way after 5 1/2 minutes for over a minute. Nice. Great restrained ending as well.

"-Ish" has an excellent bass intro as intricate sounds start to come and go. I really like this style , so much going on but it's restrained. I also like the keys over top around 4 minutes in then the guitar that follows but man it's all good. "Euthanasia" might be my favourite on here. A quiet start with intricate sounds before they all join in. It's still fairly relaxed until the tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. It settles back again and this is so good. Love that guitar before 3 minutes then it settles back again before 5 minutes.

"Isis Morning(Part One)" sounds incredible with the space they allow, room to breathe as it were. A spacey atmosphere joins in as intricate sounds come and go. Percussion is fairly steady though. I like that bass as well. "Isis Morning(Part Two)" has more depth to it I believe, more serious sounding. The guitar, bass and keys take turns soloing over top. Incredible!

"Malaga Virgen" is where the band puts their skills on display as we get tons of energy. I'm such a fan of that electric piano early on then it settles back after 2 minutes briefly kicking back in as the bass solos over top. Soon it's the synths and guitar leading the way 3 1/2 minutes in. So much energy. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes causes the crowd to roar and cheer but this isn't over as we get some atmosphere and guitar and it's building. So good. Intricate sounds follow along with some excellent bass as per usual. It kicks back in late. On fire!

This has been nothing but a pleasure. Sure many fans were disappointed that a live album would only include two songs off of their studio albums and Phil isn't drumming throughout. But it's the amazing music here that blows me away regardless of the complaints. I have no such qualms obviously.

 Masques by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.08 | 174 ratings

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Masques
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Of the three solid albums Brand X kicked off their studio career with, Masques might be the most traditional in its fusion temperaments, with a style reminiscent of Weather Report or Pierre Moerlen's Gong. Still, as far as albums of this style go, it's quite decent. Don't let the cover fool you - the world music influences of Moroccan Roll are largely absent here, as is Phil Collins (business having perked up for Genesis), with Chuck Burgi filling in on the drumstool whilst Peter Robinson of Quatermass fame steps into the keyboard role. What they deliver is more directly rocky and straight-ahead than the more unorthodox behaviour registered on previous albums. One for serious fusion fans mostly.
 Moroccan Roll by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.07 | 271 ratings

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Moroccan Roll
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I actually mildly prefer this one to Unorthodox Behaviour, since it finds Brand X emerging from the shadow of the session work they'd been brought together to do and stamp their own identity on their material. Whereas the debut album had mixed up straight-ahead fusion with instrumental passages previously developed backing material like Eno's Another Green World, resulting in a bit of a hodge-podge of material, this album benefits from the Middle Eastern musical influences the title and cover art implies, adding a world music touch to proceedings. We're still very much in fusion territory, but Brand X are now plotting their own distinctive course there.
 Unorthodox Behaviour by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 359 ratings

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Unorthodox Behaviour
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Luqueasaur

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.)

 Unorthodox Behaviour by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 359 ratings

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Unorthodox Behaviour
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Despite Phil Collins being a core member of this British fusion four-piece, "Unorthodox Behaviour" is certainly no Genesis record. It's actually a surprise that this group never got more traction, not only because of the famous name in the line-up but also because this album, as with their albums to follow, is really incredible.

The album is completely instrumental and its sound is full and complex at times, nonchalant and mysterious at others. Breakneck numbers like "Nuclear Burn" and "Running On Three" are showcases of some of the finest drum work Phil Collins ever laid down, though no one band member ever steals the show. The amount of interplay in this group is stunning and the music is very well balanced between loose and complex. Songs like "Born Ugly" are especially brilliant at going through frequent time and tempo changes while still flowing organically. "Unorthodox Behaviour" really is a very good example of 70's fusion and really plays up the atmosphere; its shady urban moods and 60's espionage undertones are sublime. My only problem with the album is that, while it's pleasant to hear while it's playing, doesn't stick with you too well once it's finished; most of the songs are good but not very memorable. I'd recommend this album to fans of Jeff Beck's 70's solo fusion albums but it should really appeal to any fusion fan.

3.5 stars rounded down for four strong players producing some very good work.

 Unorthodox Behaviour by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 359 ratings

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Unorthodox Behaviour
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars BRAND X actually had strange beginnings. The musical entity was formed as a jam band by record execs at Island and A&R and used the name "BRAND X" to generically apply to their music calendar. They initiated the first lineup which consisted of only John Goodsall (Atomic Rooser, The Fire Merchants) appearing on this debut release UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOR. After a bunch of members being replaced only to be replaced again, the band finally ended up with the lineup of Goodsall, keyboardist Robin Lumley (Rod Argent, Anthony Phillips, David Bowie), bassist and marimbaist Percy Jones (Soft Machine, David Sylvian, Eno, Steve Hackett, Suzanne Vega etc) and of course Phil Collins who at this point was entertaining his long desire to play in a jazz-fusion band at the time when Gabriel had left Genesis. We also get occasional soprano sax help form Jack Lancaster of Blodwyn Pig fame.

This album displays some of Collins' most distinguished and ferocious chops that he could dish out. In fact i never understood the hype behind his drumming skills until i finally heard this album. He also adds healthy doses of vibraphones to the mix as well bringing the jazz years of Lionel Hampton to mind. This is a splendid example of 70s jazz-fusion taking a little of the Mahavishnu Orchestra's frenetic energy and mixing it with a Return To Forever type atmosphere and occasional Herbie Hancock funkiness.

All the musicians here are really at their best and the sum of their parts results in an extremely pleasant surprise. While not the most original jazz-fusion album of the 70s, it is nonetheless very consistent from beginning to end with pleasant melodies interspersed with frenetic drum rolls, layers of silence, funky bassm atmospheric synthesizers and rhythmic developments accompanied by proggy jazzed up time signature outbursts and even some sizzling solo trade off between the Moog synthesizers and guitars.

Due to the involvement of Phil Collins, this album actually made it on to the Billboard top 200 albums albeit peaking only at No. 191. Another aspect of this album i really dig is the production. There is great attention paid to details in how notes slide, in the volume control of the instruments in relation to each other and the overall atmospheric development of the album. Great musicianship and beautifully constructed instrumental workouts make this a pleasant listen that i don't seem to tire of. Slightly more accessible than the influences on board but it also delivers on the jazz-fusion goods that even the most hardened fans can get into.

 Do They Hurt? by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.44 | 116 ratings

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Do They Hurt?
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I found this record for small money at a second hand store. I fell for the cover and of course I had heard the name "Brand X" before, knew that it was something with Phil Collins but had never heard them at all. Well, the awesome cover showing a lady meeting a crocodile at her driveway was released 1980, thirtyfour years ago, and it was Brand X's fifth album. I guess the crocodile asks the lady if her shoes hurt. A record with such an artistic cover must be great did I think and bought it. Now have I listened to it some times and I love what I hear and it is of course much more than Phil Collins, he's just present on two tracks. I think this is just how I want jazz rock to be and it feels so much like the seventies. The music is authentic and such as candy for my ears.

Just one song has some form of vocals, "Act of Will" which John Goodsall, the guitarist sings. The bassist is Percy Jones on the most tracks and he does such a lovely job. He plays around and makes the bass shimmer on for example "D.M.Z" a splendid jazz rock song. "Fragile" is another lovely piece which I would call elegant and "Voidarama" has so lovely feelings in the guitar work. The best track I think is "Triumphant Limp" which is so joyful and talanted. The main themes come like sweet caresses to me and Peter Robinson, John Goodsall, John Giblin, Robin Lumley and Phil Collins have done that very well.

I don't know how the other Brand X records sound so I can't compare them, but this was great. If more records were like this, could I exclaim, but there are so why complain. This though is a obvious four star record. Perhaps some of the bands others are even better. I would recommend this for you friends!

 Timeline by BRAND X album cover Live, 2000
3.79 | 25 ratings

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Timeline
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars Firstly, a distinction must be made about this 2 disc release. The first disk revolves around tunes from early albums and featuring much of the classic line-up minus PHIL COLLINS. Disc 2 recorded 15 years later by a pared down band, a trio that at best is referred to as BRAND X Mark II, but in reality, their approach don't compare well with early BRAND X material.

Disc 1 one contains compositions that projected the band to well-earned stellar recognition are delivered here with commendable accuracy. The complexities involved would be a challenge to any highly skilled artist and the band handles that well in a live environment. There are some minute changes, the odd flaw that is a bit of an issue if one is familiar with the studio releases burned deeply onto one's brain over a few decades, though. Pretty good, but "Livestock" performed around the same time is seen as a far superior release.

Disc 2 is BRAND X only by name. This power trio of two founding members plus a new drummer have completely missed the mark of what made the original band exceptional. Three musicians show that the collective contributions of 5-6 altogether is a hard act to follow. This hard edged outfit appears to be in perpetual limbo between Heavy-Prog, Avant and even industrial approaches, but fail to fully succeed in any of the above. Had I only known this version of the band, BRAND X would never have made it quoted as one of my fave bands in British Jazz-Rock.

This release should have been split into two different ones. The title "Timeline" may be appropriate, but hardly a winner.

I had been privy to hear exceptional, but officially unreleased material by early BRAND X, but we'd be approaching bootleg territory there. It seems that record companies are sitting on their hands, depriving the public of quality material.

This is not a strong release, you'll find the same tunes performed much better elsewhere.

R

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