BRAND X

Fusion / Jazz Related Rock • United Kingdom
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Brand X were 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 lineup also included keyboardist Robin Lumley and bassist Percy Jones (the Liverpool Scene, the Scaffold). Brand X's debut album, Unorthodox Behaviour, was released in 1976; a live album, Livestock, and the studio effort Moroccan Roll followed in 1977. Collins left the group to concentrate on Genesis, and for 1978's Masques, he was replaced by Al Di Meola drummer Chuck Burgi, as well as additional keyboardist Peter Robinson, who had played with Stanley Clarke. Three further albums -- 1979's Product, 1980's Do They Hurt?, and 1982's Is There Anything About? -- followed before the group disbanded. In the mid-'90s, Lumley, Goodsall, and Jones reunited, issuing several live collections in the years to follow.

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Live From Stockholme 1978  VOL.XLive From Stockholme 1978 VOL.X
Gonzo 2016
$10.11
$9.83 (used)
Nuclear BurnNuclear Burn
Virgin Emi 2014
$17.70
$21.29 (used)
Morrocan RollMorrocan Roll
Emi Import 1989
$9.65
$7.61 (used)
Unorthodox BehaviourUnorthodox Behaviour
EMI Europe Generic 2004
$10.89
$8.67 (used)
MasquesMasques
EMI Europe Generic 1989
$8.98
$11.74 (used)
Live From San Francisco 1977Live From San Francisco 1977
Gonzo 2015
$12.57
$12.00 (used)
LivestockLivestock
Emi International 2012
$5.60
$4.50 (used)
XcommunicationXcommunication
Dutch East 1992
$5.72 (used)
A History: 1976 - 1980A History: 1976 - 1980
Caroline Records 1997
$37.95
$28.40 (used)
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BRAND X Discography

BRAND X albums / top albums

BRAND X Unorthodox Behaviour album cover 3.81 | 32 ratings
Unorthodox Behaviour
Fusion 1976
BRAND X Marscape (as Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley with Phill Collins,Percy Jones and John Goodsall) album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Marscape (as Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley with Phill Collins,Percy Jones and John Goodsall)
Jazz Related Rock 1976
BRAND X Moroccan Roll album cover 3.88 | 21 ratings
Moroccan Roll
Fusion 1977
BRAND X Masques album cover 3.46 | 14 ratings
Masques
Fusion 1978
BRAND X Product album cover 2.95 | 11 ratings
Product
Jazz Related Rock 1979
BRAND X Do They Hurt? album cover 2.71 | 8 ratings
Do They Hurt?
Jazz Related Rock 1980
BRAND X Is There Anything About? album cover 3.19 | 7 ratings
Is There Anything About?
Fusion 1982
BRAND X Xcommunication album cover 3.60 | 5 ratings
Xcommunication
Fusion 1992
BRAND X Manifest Destiny album cover 2.50 | 4 ratings
Manifest Destiny
Fusion 1997
BRAND X Missing Period album cover 3.74 | 7 ratings
Missing Period
Fusion 1997

BRAND X EPs & splits

BRAND X live albums

BRAND X Livestock album cover 3.87 | 10 ratings
Livestock
Fusion 1977
BRAND X Live at the Roxy LA album cover 3.42 | 3 ratings
Live at the Roxy LA
Jazz Related Rock 1995
BRAND X Timeline album cover 3.81 | 4 ratings
Timeline
Fusion 1999
BRAND X But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017 album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017
Fusion 2017
BRAND X Locked & Loaded album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Locked & Loaded
Fusion 2018

BRAND X demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BRAND X re-issues & compilations

BRAND X The Plot Thins: A History of Brand X album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
The Plot Thins: A History of Brand X
Fusion 1992
BRAND X Why Should I Lend You Mine album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Why Should I Lend You Mine
Fusion 1996
BRAND X The X Files: A 20 Year Retrospective album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
The X Files: A 20 Year Retrospective
Fusion 1998
BRAND X Macrocosm album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Macrocosm
Fusion 2003
BRAND X Trilogy album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Trilogy
Fusion 2003
BRAND X Nuclear Burn: The Charisma Albums 1976-1980 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nuclear Burn: The Charisma Albums 1976-1980
Fusion 2014

BRAND X singles (0)

BRAND X movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
Fusion 2018

BRAND X Reviews

BRAND X Unorthodox Behaviour

Album · 1976 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
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.

BRAND X Timeline

Live album · 1999 · Fusion
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Cannonball With Hat
Two moments in time.

Timeline is a 2 CD set from Brand X highlighting two different periods of the band's history. First, a show from 1977, featuring most of the "classic" Brand X lineup (only Phil Collins is missing) and then a show from 1992, with a smaller trio lineup that is certainly a different beast all together, showing the change in the Brand X form. While the 1992 is nice, the 1977 set is blistering, and shows what a well oiled machine early(ish) Brand X was.

The Chicago show is filled to the brim with well known pieces from the first three albums (plus Nightmare Patrol). The playing is absolutely superb. Kenwood Dennard does a fine job behind the kit, replacing Collins fairly convincingly in my opinion. The keys and guitar set wonderful atmospheres (at least when not soloing) and, of course, Percy's basslines are spot on and bubbly. However, the real star of the show is Morris Pert. Firstly, the percussion is mixed way up in the mix, allowing the listener to really hear the all subtle contributions from Pert that really make this music unique, something that is a bit lacking in the studio releases to my ears. However, there are multiple instances when subtlety is thrown out the window and his playing is akin to fire scorching the ragged and helpless Earth below. The recording really allows the listener to hear how busy Pert is, even in the calmer sections, and as a fan of percussions it really is a joy. As for standout songs, Nightmare Patrol surpasses the version found on Livestock with extra kick and possibly a bit more of a sinister atmosphere. Disco Suicide is also given a fine workout, with the percussions working overtime. Nuclear Burn would round out my top three (and as an extra bonus there is a small percussive feature near the end of Nuclear Burn). The only downside to disc one, is that for tracks 6-8 the sound quality drops off, fairly significantly. Its not unlistenable, but you do lose some of the subtly, as it sounds like it was being recorded from backstage (or across the room). Most everything is still hearable, but it is a bit muffled, and it is quite noticeable with the impeccable sound quality of the first five songs. But still, even with this, disc one is still worth a minimum of 4 stars.

Disc two is unfortunately less successful. The trio format certainly makes it sound more like Percy's band after Brand X (Tunnels), aside from the fact that the guitar is quite prominent and there is no midi vibes. My main issue with this one is that there is a certain bit of sameness that is cast over the latter half of the disc. While nothing is really bad, few things stand out, especially on repeated listens. I suppose there is a certain nostalgia (if you can call it that) factor dealing with the loss of the keys and extra percussion. These ingredients gave Brand X an edge over other jazz-rock groups of the time. But, Brand X sans these features makes it feel a little more ordinary. Granted, this isn't run of the mill stuff here...the bass in particular paints wonderful colors that are true to the time old Brand X canon. Another aspect that I'm less enthused about is the drumming style of Frank Katz. While it is certainly competent, it is more ordinary/straight forward than the "typical" drumming style that Brand X usually employs. Even the drum solo is fairly average, but worse fairly typical for the length it is given. I suppose it gives the music a more rock base for the music, which isn't a bad thing in itself. It just, doesn't particular work here for me. Having said all that, there is still some better tracks here. I do like the Introduction (which thankfully is mostly music rather than words) and A Duck Exploding is pretty nice, even though it wanders a bit near the middle/end. Thalidomide Squid and Strangeness also would be top tier tracks to my ears, but it is difficult to pick out outstanding aspects to these songs. Again, playing is quite skilled, it just sometimes misses the mark. But the sound quality is quite nice (though not as good as the first five tracks from disc one). Overall a 3 star rating for disc two.

All in all, the 1977 show from Chicago is a real winner and something fans of early Brand X need to hear. For me, it blows Livestock away no questions asked. The 1992 show would appeal more to fans of more "normal" sounding fusion or those who prefer a rock basis for your jazz/rock-fusion. (As a side note: the liner notes provide some specific detail about the history of Brand X that as a big fan of the group is nice to see laid out very simply.) Overall, I'll give this a four star rating, with a strong basis of this rating on disc 1. If you can find this somewhat cheap, don't hesitate. Recommended.

BRAND X Unorthodox Behaviour

Album · 1976 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dreadpirateroberts
While Brand X’s debut is highly derivative of the band's fusion heroes, that’s not necessarily an insurmountable problem. In fact, ‘Unorthodox Behaviour’ has some blisteringly good moments, even if from start to finish the compositions aren’t all as powerful as the opener or as effective as ‘Euthanasia Waltz.’ If nothing else, this album will remind you that Collins is a great drummer.

The fact that the record instantly brings the Mahavishnu Orchestra to mind puts the listener into familiar territory. It’s a fair comparison, as would be a mention of Billy Cobham or Weather Report’s work – both their early atmospheric output and slicker pieces. But that same aspect, that familiarity, also adds to the absence of discovery for the listener. There aren’t enough surprises here and many songs lack melodic muscle. ‘Born Ugly’ for instance, despite a nice Santana/McLaughlin-esque solo in from Goodsall, is indicative of such shortfalls. There are some quirks to the arrangement, yes, but no grit to the funk. ‘Smacks of Euphoric Hyst’ doesn’t really go anywhere and the title track doesn’t have a pay-off, it seems to do so little with its running time in a way that say, Miles Davis’ ‘In a Silent Way’ is never guilty of.

On the other hand, ‘Running on Three’ is another fantastic charge of energy, with Collins driving the band into high gear before they rein it in again for ‘Touch Wood’ where, in part thanks to the acoustic guitar, the track feels like one of the pieces least indebted to the past. It’s actually a toss-up for my favourite on the album (the other being ‘Nuclear Burn.’) This inclusion of acoustic guitar is one of the most distinctive aspects of ‘Unorthodox Behaviour’ and something I think is a really welcome aspect of their sound – especially in ‘Euthanasia Waltz.’

After finishing the album however, I’m often left feeling that I just heard something good, something that’s great at times, but not an album that floors me. Still, three stars overall, with a couple of five star moments throughout.

BRAND X Unorthodox Behaviour

Album · 1976 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Prior to entering the studio for Genesis' first post-Peter Gabriel album, Phil Collins loosened up by taking the drummer's stool for this debut Brand X album. The group play a light and airy style of fusion reminiscent of a little bit of Return to Forever, the occasional hint of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and a generous helping of Billy Cobham's spectrum. All pleasant enough, though I don't think the album really stands out as a classic of the genre; it's good, but it doesn't blow me away. A few tracks were reworked for some pieces on Brian Eno's Another Green World and Before and After Science albums (which featured Brand X members in the backing groups), but comparing them makes it plain how much Eno's production and ambient manipulations added to those pieces.

BRAND X Livestock

Live album · 1977 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Generally, live albums are often released to provide the bands some more time before the next studio album's release, but it's not always the case. Releasing a live album is also a cheap way of releasing a record, without too much studio expenses, but it's even worthier if most of the tracks are previously unreleased and such was the case of Livestock. Apparently recorded over (at least) two dates over the 76-77 years, since there is a drummer change, as Collins is missing out on two tracks (holidays are over, time to return to the day job), Ken Dennard filling in. (Ex-Pat Martino). The artwork shows a disgustingly rachitic woman's pair of legs coming out of a door and is no hint for the music. Livestock is their third album and if it was recorded live, only two tracks were from previous albums. But the rest of the (unreleased) tracks are right on par with the excellence of their first two albums. Nightmare Patrol is, along with Macrocosm and Nuclear Burn, one of my fave tracks of BX. Next up is "?ish" and a personal favorite, slightly Santana-esque and the best of the new tracks. Both Euthanasia and Malaga Virgen (the only two tracks previously known) are rendered better in live than in their original studio versions. The lengthy two-part Isis Mourning is a delicate slow blues starter and is quite accessible.

This is the first album where Mr. Collins is not fully present (well, he did have a day job in a firm called Genesis) and his future coming and going will affects the cohesiveness of Brand X, IMHO. But in the meantime, he remains on the stool for most of this album, and he's brilliant.

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