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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


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

4.12 | 406 ratings
Unorthodox Behaviour
1976
4.08 | 308 ratings
Moroccan Roll
1977
4.07 | 205 ratings
Masques
1978
3.32 | 158 ratings
Product
1979
3.48 | 142 ratings
Do They Hurt?
1980
3.01 | 80 ratings
Is There Anything About?
1982
3.34 | 75 ratings
X-Communication
1992
2.97 | 66 ratings
Manifest Destiny
1997

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

3.71 | 108 ratings
Livestock
1977
2.76 | 26 ratings
Live at the Roxy LA
1995
4.20 | 5 ratings
Timeline
1999
3.79 | 26 ratings
Timeline
2000
3.20 | 5 ratings
Live From San Francisco
2015
3.20 | 5 ratings
Live From Ronnie Scotts
2015
3.50 | 4 ratings
Live from Chicago
2015
3.50 | 4 ratings
Live from New York
2016
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live from Stockholm
2016
3.00 | 7 ratings
But Wait... There's More! / Live 2017
2017
4.20 | 5 ratings
Locked & Loaded
2018

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

4.70 | 10 ratings
Brand X - Live - The Rites Of Spring
2018

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

3.84 | 13 ratings
X-Trax
1986
3.03 | 13 ratings
The Plot Thins - A History of Brand X
1992
3.15 | 8 ratings
Why Should I Lend You Mine
1996
3.64 | 61 ratings
Missing Period
1997
4.03 | 11 ratings
Brand X - A History 1976-1980
1997
2.22 | 18 ratings
The X Files
1999
3.98 | 12 ratings
Trilogy
2003
3.33 | 11 ratings
Macrocosm: Introducing... Brand X
2003
4.67 | 12 ratings
Nuclear Burn
2014

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
X-Cerpts
1977
5.00 | 1 ratings
Sun in the Night
1977
3.50 | 4 ratings
Soho
1979

BRAND X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Macrocosm: Introducing... Brand X by BRAND X album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.33 | 11 ratings

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Macrocosm: Introducing... Brand X
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nş 779

Brand X is a British progressive rock band that was founded in London in 1975. Brand X was a British jazz rock fusion outfit formed by Genesis drummer Phil Collins and Atomic Rooster guitarist John Goodsall as a side project from their regular groups. Their initial line up also included keyboardist Robin Lumley and bassist Percy Jones. All over the years Brand X released some of the best works that belong to the jazz rock/fusion style. Brand X is considered one of best British representatives of jazz/fusion style and they're also considered one of the best acts on that style in the world.

"Macrocosm: Introducing?Brand X" is a compilation album with fourteen tracks that was released in 2003. It comprises tracks that belong to six albums of the band. So, from "Unorthodox Behaviour" we have "Nuclear Burn", "Euthanasia Waltz" and "Touch Wood". From "Moroccan Roll" we have "Hate Zone", "Sun In The Night", "...Maybe I'll Lend You Mine After All" and "Macrocosm". From "Masques" we have "Black Moon". From "Product" we have "Don't Make Waves", "Algon (Where An Ordinary Cup Of Drinking Chocolate Costs £8.000.000.000)" and "...And So To F...". From "Do They Hurt?" we have "Voidarama". From "Livestock" we have "Isis Mourning, Pts 1-2".

"Hate Zone" begins with a solo by Collins that kicks it for several seconds. Jones then joins in on the euphoric piece, followed by the rest of the band. This is a very hard grooving track that clearly moves towards the jazz rock style. "Sun In The Night" is a laid back piece, one of the few pieces of the band that has words. It's a very rewarding track with some pleasant sitar work and great spacey vocals from Collins. The intensity grows as the song progresses. This is a peculiar, but yet fascinating piece of music. "Nuclear Burn" is a great track where Collins and Jones erupt in unison. Phil and Lumley enter to introduce us to the song and Goodsall who, together with Lumley, exudes a wonderful solo. The 70's jazz fusion flavour is perfectly audible here. "Euthanasia Waltz" is a calm track. It follows the repertoire with a melodious and dynamic piece that finds Goodsall playing captivatingly and where the acoustic guitar is the dominant instrument here. Collins and Jones' cuts are stunningly precise. "Don't Make Waves" is a pretty bland pop/rock song that spreads a certain Genesis' atmosphere, especially through vocals and drums. They never sounded so like Genesis as on this song. It sounds like prog/pop/jazz rock. So, it wasn't a surprise that it was also released as a single. "...Maybe I'll Lend You Mine After All" is a brief piece, a slow track, a logical continuation of the previous track of "Moroccan Roll", "Why Should I Lend You Mine". It could well be the coda of that previous first track. It's a pity that both parts weren't chosen to be part of this compilation. Both give the real atmosphere to the piece. "Algon (Where An Ordinary Cup Of Drinking Chocolate Costs £8.000.000.000)" represents Brand X's fusion rock at its best. It's complex and eerily percussive, never forgetting the melodic line. It's not a Brand X's masterpiece but this is nice stuff. "Black Moon" is a rather generic and delicate piece with a very catchy mid paced tune. It's a foray into the smooth jazz that stands out with its massive relaxing energy. I think this is a lovely piece, a great find for any Latin jazz lover, really. "Isis Mourning, Pts 1-2" is a slow blues piece. It begins with relaxed drums and percussions, gently accompanied by the keyboards. The guitar joins them in the same laid back fashion while the bass holds everything together. It sounds incredible with the space they allow, room to breathe as it were. "...And So To F..." is a great song very well played, certainly one of the most rounded pieces from Brand X. The band plays it as if from a single mould. The piece experiences an almost unbearable climax and it's one of the perfect live favourites of the band. "Touch Wood" opens with intricate guitar as the piano comes in. It's a piece with a great delicacy where Lancaster's nuances with his soprano sax the Goodsall's acoustic guitar and the Lumley's keyboards, which fill us with warmth, especially at the end of it. "Voidarama" is a very guitar-oriented track. It begins with a nice and catchy relaxed melody. In the middle section Goodsall dares to play somewhat more complex parts. This track is a reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra style. "Macrocosm" is an energetic jazz rock piece, a celebration of the jazz/fusion, being intricate and uplifting and a showcase for the individual skills of all musicians. It shows why Brand X has been one of the jazz fusion bands with relevance for so many years.

Conclusion: "Macrocosm: Introducing?Brand X" is a 14-track budget-priced compilation of Brand X that covers their career between 1976 and 1980. It's a compilation album with a very decent appetite whetter, featuring three tracks from "Unorthodox Behaviour", four tracks from "Moroccan Roll", two tracks from "Livestock", one track from "Masques", three tracks from "Product" and one track from "Do They Hurt?". So, we can say this is a very good compilation album of Brand X that is very well representative of the band's career. However and despite what I said before, fans gain nothing by having this compilation album if they've already these original works from the band, except another sexually suggestive sleeve image by Hipgnosis. But we can't say the same for the newbies because this is a great intro to them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Why Should I Lend You Mine by BRAND X album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Why Should I Lend You Mine
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nş 775

Brand X is a British progressive rock band that was founded in London in 1975. Brand X was a jazz fusion band active between 1975-1980 and 1992-1999. The members included the noted Phil Collins (drums), Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitar) and Robin Lumley (keyboards), besides many other musicians that collaborated with the band all over the years. Brand X recorded and released their debut studio album "Unorthodox Behavior" in 1976. The album was positively received by the jazz/fusion fans worldwide. Afterward, the band hit the road for multiple tours in the UK. In 1977, Brand X recorded and released their sophomore studio album "Moroccan Roll", an album also very well received.

"?Featuring Phil Collins" is a compilation album with thirteen tracks that was released in 1996. It comprises tracks that belong only to their first two studio albums. So, from "Unorthodox Behaviour" we have "Nuclear Burn", "Euthanasia Waltz", "Running Of Three", "Born Ugly", "Unorthodox Behaviour", "Smacks Of Euphoric Hysteria" and "Touch Wood". From "Moroccan Roll" we have "Hate Zone", "Sun In The Night", "Why Should I Lend You Mine (When You've Broken Yours Off Already)", "...Maybe I'll Lend You Mine After All", "Malaga Virgen" and "Macrocosm".

"Nuclear Burn" is a great track where Collins and Jones erupt in unison. Phil and Lumley enter to introduce us to the song and Goodsall who, together with Lumley, exudes a wonderful solo. The 70's jazz fusion flavour is perfectly audible here. "Touch Wood" opens with intricate guitar as piano comes in. It's a piece with a great delicacy where Lancaster's nuances with his soprano sax the Goodsall's acoustic guitar and the Lumley's keyboards, which fill us with warmth, especially at the end of it. "Hate Zone" begins with a solo by Collins that kicks it for several seconds. Jones then joins in on the euphoric piece, followed by the rest of the band. This is a very hard grooving track that clearly moves towards the jazz rock style. "Euthanasia Waltz" is a calm track. It follows the repertoire with a melodious and dynamic piece that finds Goodsall playing captivatingly and where the acoustic guitar is the dominant instrument here. Collins and Jones' cuts are stunningly precise. "Running Of Three" is a piece where the band makes a rhythmic melodic experience. It's a fast track where bass and drums play intriguing roles. Keyboards share the melodic work with a guitar solo of rock in the middle. The overall impression is a jazz jam piece. "Sun In The Night" is a laid back piece, one of the few pieces of the band that has words. It's a very rewarding track with some pleasant sitar and great, spacey vocals from Collins. The intensity grows as the song progresses. This is a peculiar, but yet fascinating piece of music. "Born Ugly" is a groovy number where the band shares a bit of funk without getting too far apart. It can be best described as improvisation session music with a structure. The middle part is a bit psych as the band weaves a large soundscapes with growing intensity. "Why Should I Lend You Mine (When You've Broken Yours Off Already)" is an excellent instrumental full of surprises ranging from its varied dynamics to the curious percussion and the always virtuous and extended sound of Jones's fretless bass. Lumley and Goodsall's solos move within an environment where everything seems to levitate, really. "...Maybe I'll Lend You Mine After All" is a brief piece, a slow track, a logical continuation of the previous track. It could well be the coda of the previous one. Both parts give a lot of atmosphere to the track. "Unorthodox Behaviour" is another piece that sounds like an improvised jam. It begins quiet and even hesitating and builds up a tension that it's broken up suddenly by Phil's drumming. A dialogue develops between the guitar and the keyboards and where bass and drums occasionally pop in. "Malaga Virgen" is one of Brand X's greatest tracks ever due to its complexity and the way it holds together as a piece. It switches between the fast and slow, and the loud and quiet parts. The interplay is exceedingly virtuosic, especially the solo segments by Jones and Lumley. "Smacks Of Euphoric Hysteria" is probably the least euphoric songs in the all repertoire of the band, but it's highly attractive too. It has a slow groove. There's an obvious intention to give to each musician the same time in the centre spot but Phil's drums are in the front, really. "Macrocosm" is a celebration of the fusion genre, being intricate and uplifting and a showcase for the individual skills of all musicians. It shows why Brand X has been one of the jazz fusion bands with great relevance for so many decades.

Conclusion: "?Featuring Phil Collins" is a very good compilation album of Brand X. It has some of the best tracks by the band. However and despite of that, we cannot say that "?Featuring Phil Collins" is a compilation album very well representative of Brand X because, as I mentioned above, it has only tracks that belong to their first two studio albums. This is pretty evident if we look to title of it. Who are used to with the entire career of Brand X knows that Phil Collins only participated entirely on the first two studio albums of Brand X, "Unorthodox Behaviour" and "Moroccan Roll", due to his commitments with Genesis when he replaced Peter Gabriel in the vocal role. Anyway, "?Featuring Phil Collins" is very well representative of that period of the band and represents an excellent intro to the band and their great music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Manifest Destiny by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.97 | 66 ratings

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Manifest Destiny
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Brand X Modernizes?

Wow! These ratings by my fellow reviewers are... shocking...

GOODSALL and Co. playing virtual catch-up to then-modern styles and... phenomena... is not a good look. It just sounds tacky (mostly at the frontend of the album, by the way). Hear it for yourself: the cheesiest, faux-horror, MJ- calling synth-stabs on "Stellerator"(?!). The most workable of this is on one of the strongest tracks on the album, "Drum Ddu", but can I really recommend it?

The next track (from the top), "Virus", feels far more confident in itself. Still not anything of interest. If anything, I must say the production feels a little hollow (this is really the worst of this sin on the album). The disappointment continues on "XXL". We get a glimpse back into the band's regular confidence in the title track with spanky drums and the strange, virtuosic noodlings one would hope to get from Percy JONES. Really, after the first half of the album, thank God!

The second half continues with the beautiful, spacy "Five Drops", with ethereal vibes (by Marc WAGNON) and keys. And eventually, we're basically business as usual, with the very nice "Operation Hearts And Minds". Like, seriously. So thankful for what I'm hearing at this point in time. This album was all over the place. Totally inconsistent, especially as I'm now directly comparing it to their second-to-last, X-Communication.

Overall, just a sad final statement by, still, a great band. Best I can say is that, if they took the second half of the album and had released an EP of just that, it would be one of their best.

RIP John (1953-2021). Certainly no disrespect.

True Rate: 2.5/5.0

 X-Communication by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.34 | 75 ratings

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X-Communication
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Brand X will, for me, forever and always be one of the preeminent Fusion bands. Certainly one of the most important Fusion bands to grace Britain in the '70s! And certainly the band itself was graced with such a unique and powerful leader in John GOODSALL (1953-2021). Now that I am writing, I'm thinking too how integral John was to the development of "Guitar Fusion" to follow them and their peers.

I am definitely writing this review, a week or so following his untimely death, in honor of him and his great legacy. I'm terribly sorry I never got to see them/him perform in person. And what's most unbelievable about it all, is that he (I assume he) fell ill and they were then looking to postpone the show in my hometown just a month ago... Pretty surreal. Rest in Peace, sir. Rest in Peace, as Robin LUMLEY put it, to BRAND X.

X-Communication was released ten years after their last effort (and effort is a good enough descriptor of it, in my opinion), Is There Anything About? (1982). Interesting to think that there was a whole decade between it and this release. Then again, we are yet to see anything following their final studio album in 1997 today.

To a point above, I think this is the strongest effort the band has had since 1979's Product, a personal favorite of mine. It's relatively consistent, in feeling and, for the most part, in compositional knack. There's some really very interesting tracks on this, ranging from brooding to "Eastern" and exotic. My personal favorites are "Xanax Taxi", "Liquid Time", "Mental Floss" and "Kluzinski Reprise". To keep this shorter, I'll end this here.

True Rate: 3.5/5.0

 Nuclear Burn by BRAND X album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.67 | 12 ratings

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Nuclear Burn
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by zeb1981

5 stars An excellent mastered boxset, including a booklet with all the info you need What`s in here then !? Well nearly everything Brand X did during their first period (1975-1981) And It also includes 4 songs recorded for the BBC (These can be found on "Missing Period" Too)

What is NOT included in this boxset : 1:The complete "Is There Anything About" Album 2:Why Won't You Lend Me Yours? (BBC, Missing Period) 3:Tito's Leg (Live, Missing Period) 4:Pool Room Blues (Soho B-Side) 5:Genocide Of The Straights (X-Cerpts Promo EP) 6:Algon (Live, The Plot Thins - A History Of Brand X)

All of this would fit nicely as a disc 5 in this boxset Also non of the later archival/live stuff isnt here, but thats not that important

Nevertheless, The price for this boxset is nice, and you get 6 FULL Brand X albums and 35 minutes BBC Recordings

 Missing Period by BRAND X album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.64 | 61 ratings

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Missing Period
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JazzFusionGuy

4 stars I urge all musicians and bands to dig through the attic, the garage, the basement, and forgotten storage areas of friends and family for lost tapes! You just might dig up a real treasure like what happened to Brand X with this release. Family members gave guitarist/ founder, John Goodsall a box of Brand X memorabilia, aka olde band junk and ancient reels of tape were discovered aneath it all. Oh boy! They were the earliest known recordings of the band, circa 1975-76, predating their debut album release. So how's it sound? Excellent is the word for both quality and content. This is super-fun fusion in that classic Brand X, off-beat, funked up, jazz rock groove. Extended soloing, tight unison lines, virtuoso musicianship fill every nook and cranny of each tune. If you are a Brand X or fusion rock fan, this is a must-have. Many of these tunes were never released for twenty years and now we are just too lucky. Some tracks are early versions of songs later released but I dig these ancient versions just as much if not moreso. Hear Goodsall melt his axe with riffs galore, Jones slay the bass, Collins decimate the drums, Lumley go hay-wire on keys, and Heyman tickle the percussion. Get into 70s fusion all over again with this rare treat! Highly recommended!
 Manifest Destiny by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.97 | 66 ratings

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Manifest Destiny
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JazzFusionGuy

3 stars Oh baby, this is why I love band reunions or should I say band revivals. For this is one on-fire, cranked-up, slammin' and funkified fusion fest. John Goodsall, Percy Jones, and the gang whirl you around by your heels until your brain pops. Being a dormant entity for most of the '80s, Brand X is obviously very much back with this second post-reunited offering. With drummer Frank Katz and vibesman Mark Wagnon from Jones' Tunnels band -- Brand X is manifesting a destiny of attack and decimate. Jones' signature jazzy-phat, swelling, be-boppin', hip-hopped, and burpin' funk-rock bass is framed with that serrated-edged and pyrotechnic splendor in Goodsall's mean fusion guitar. Those of us fully aware of the fascinating diversity and skillful jazz rock of early Brand X will also remember how complexly whacked and offbeat they could stretch -- they defied old genre- specific boundaries and set new ones. The same flagrant disregard is thankfully in full swing here. My mind goes back to Do They Hurt? crossed with Livestock. For that in-your- face bombastic and killer guitar-driven fusion check out "True to the Clik", "Virus", "Manifest Destiny", and "Operation Hearts and Minds". For that world and ethnic syncopated funk fusion that Brand X has always handled with ease do "XXL", "The Worst Man", and "Drum Ddu". Last track, "Mr. Bubble Goes to Hollywood" is a drum solo then drums-n-bass duet. Probably one of the most memorable cuts is Jones' "Stellerator", named after one H. F.Mudd's robo-wife device from an early Star Trek episode. This song held all Brand X was famous for in its olden days. It recalled the grace of Bruford and the retained the quirky-edged abandon of Brand X. Great stuff! Goodsall dabbles in Frippian territory ever so briefly. A bonus is two live cuts "hidden" -- Oops I told ya -- as unlisted tracks 11 and 12. Strongly recommended.
 Do They Hurt? by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.48 | 142 ratings

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Do They Hurt?
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by von bathel

5 stars Phil Collins ended up crossing the paths of a jazz rock group as they wandered around the studios in 1974. A producer said if he didn't want to join the drums of a very good band that was looking for a drummer of Billy Cobham's quality or Steve Gadd.Collins was on tour with Genesis commanded by Peter Gabriel at this time. In fact, it was the end of the Gabriel era, with the last album (double album) The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.Gabriel would never return to Genesis unless on Gabacabriel (bootleg) benefit concert badly sung by the way to raise funds for Gabriel himself! Back to Brand X, a group formed by fantastic musicians and virtuosos such as Percy Jones (bass), John Goodsall (guitars), Robin Lumley (keyboards) and Phil Collins (drums and voice) as well as percussionist (R.I.P.) Morris Pert. As Collins says in the only interview, Genesis and Brand X were two extremely opposite bands. In Genesis Phil used a drum/Premier kit and was extremely disciplined in his improvisations. In Brand X he used a drum/Gretsch kit and abused the will of improvisations jazz and avant-garde experimentalisms. He said that on Brand X he was actually Phil Collins drummer. On Genesis he was a percussionist who worked for a musically driven group. The LPS that I think are sensational and unique, showing that Collins is one of the 10 best drummers of sec.XX are undoubtedly the ones he plays, and I had the pleasure of piercing all the cookies in the 70s: -Unorthodox Behavior (1976) -Moroccan Roll (1977) -Livestock (Live 1977) -Product (1979) -Do They Hurt? (1980) -Is There Anything About? (1982)
 Manifest Destiny by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.97 | 66 ratings

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Manifest Destiny
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mirakaze
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

2 stars At the time of this writing, John Goodsall has passed away and Brand X has ceased to exist. If there are no more recordings stashed away in a vault somewhere then this is indeed their final album, and a disappointing swan song it is. On about half of the tracks here the musicians mostly just seem to be rambling about, waiting for a groove to magically spring up out of thin air. The band's attempt to get with the times and try out some acid jazz on "XXL" (featuring barely audible R&B vocals from drummer Frank Katz) is only slightly less embarrassing and dull than one might think, and just what the hell is "The Worst Man" even supposed to be? It sounds like an AI's interpretation of funk music if you only fed it the dictionary definition. Some face is saved on "Drum Ddu" and the lengthy "Virus", both of which boast pretty powerful and memorable riffs, and the mysterious "Five Drops" which features some really impressive acoustic guitar and vibraphone licks over its ambient backdrop, but on the whole this has to be the least consistent album in Brand X's oeuvre. To have to close the book on such an amazing band with "Mr. Bubble Goes To Hollywood" (a weak two-minute drum solo) is a darn shame.
 Is There Anything About? by BRAND X album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.01 | 80 ratings

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Is There Anything About?
Brand X Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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