"Being a huge brand x fan,this recording was a bit of a disappointment.The only song on it that i liked was the first song on the disc with the crazy name.If youre looking for some inspiration or chops,youre not gonna find it on this one."
Brand X's Contractual Obligation Album
Alan Caylow | USA | 07/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not long after jazz/rock fusion greats Brand X put out their 1980 album, "Do They Hurt?", the band members went their separate ways (until their comeback in 1992). However, they still owed their record label one more album. The solution? Release a rarities album! The problem, though, was that Brand X hardly had any unreleased material in the vaults at all---about three or four tracks at the most. But with a little doctoring & remixing of tapes, keyboardist Robin Lumley extended that number to six tracks (still scant, but better than four), and released Brand X's appropriately-titled collection, "Is There Anything About?", in 1982. The album has been panned ever since the day it was released (and judging by the previous Amazon reviews, it's STILL being panned), but honestly, people, this album is nowhere near as bad as you've been led to believe. Is it a masterpiece? No. But is it bad? Absolutely not. "Is There Anything About?" DOES contain some very cool Brand X nuggets. Even the "filler" tracks, in my opinion, are enjoyable. Let's check out the material, shall we?:"Ipanemia": written by guitarist John Goodsall, this piece is an excellent jazz/rock popper. Very cool and breezy."A Longer April": this track is exactly what it says it is---a longer version of "April," from 1979's "Product." Either this is how Brand X originally recorded the tune before having to edit it down for the "Product" album, or Robin Lumley extended the track by doing some re-mixing on it. Either way it's a very dreamy, pleasant piece, and I like it. I also like the spacey little bridge section that's been added to it. "TMIU-ATGA": as the liner notes say, the title stands for "They're Making It Up As They Go Along." Lumley, fellow keyboardist Peter Robinson and bassist John Giblin improvised this short piece in one take, and Lumley stuck it onto the album. Filler? Perhaps. Instrumental noodling? Perhaps. But it's interesting."Swan Song": a fun, poppy, keyboard-heavy instrumental, with a big "Ohh-ohh" chorus at the finale. Some fans reacted to this track with, "Oh my God, they've gone pop!" Chill out, you guys. I think there's always been an oh-so-subtle pop influence to a *little bit* of Brand X's music (just a little bit, mind you), so I don't mind if the band go whole hog and do a rare, full-on pop-music piece. And "Swan Song" IS a very good pop-music piece."Is There Anything About?": Now here is a Brand X instrumental no one should have any complaints about. I can't tell when the band actually recorded it, but it is a smokin' hot, jammin' piece, just as great & funky as anything Brand X have recorded in the past. Brilliant."Modern, Noisy, And Effective": Brand X go pop again (gasp!) with a re-mixed, pop-flavored instrumental rendering of the song "Soho," originally from "Product." Extra keyboards and handclaps are tossed into the mix. Again, I don't have a problem with it. It's a fun piece with a good groove.And, to top off the album, the band's performances are juuuust fine, thank you very much, with Lumley, Giblin, Goodsall and ace drummer Phil Collins all getting in some tasty licks (as well as bassist Percy Jones on the outstanding title track). So, if Brand X's "Is There Anything About?" must be considered a throwaway album, it is a great throwaway album. I'm happy to have it sitting alongside classic Brand X albums like "Unorthodox Behaviour," "Moroccan Roll," and their excellent comeback release from 1992, "X-Communication." I give "Is There Anything About?" 3 1/2 stars, thus, 4 stars on the average curve. I know it's a pretty darn difficult CD to get a hold of these days, but do seek it out. If you are a Brand X fan, PLEASE have an open mind with "Is There Anything About?", and I hope you like it. I do!"
For completist fans only! (like myself)
J. A CASTELLI | Vineland, New Jersey USA | 01/15/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Most people (total of 2?) trash this CD. Well I have it on LP and CD so I guess I'm nuts. I like Brand X and try to get everything they did, even if they hated it. How much pop gets put out where the artist isn't creatively satisfied and pressured by the record company? But surely this is not the case with this album? Then again, there are bits that seem rather commercially aimed. Anyway, here I go track by track (there are only 6):1. Ipanaemia - I agree this is the best track, even if it is a far cry from classic X and the newer X material. Nicely played and a bit "lite jazz" aura - Weather Channel could get away playing this one. Is the title a take on "The Girl from Ipanema"? Straight 4/4.2. A Longer April - Not the best track from "Product" since it is so repetetive (if tranquil) and so no better for being made longer. Is this another take or just a longer fadeout? I never checked... mostly 4/4 with a 3/4 measure every cycle of the bass pattern.3. Modern, Noisy, and Effective - obviously a tongue-in-cheek title and the music comes off the same. Very synth-poppish with disco bass lines. A silly fun up-beat track unlike anything they ever recorded. Straight 4/4.4. Swan Song - Very basic tune with Collins' name the lead songwriting credit - hmm - but not another "And so to F..." This is also very synthy (in an 80's way) but much slower than the previous track. Bass is more slappy than disco. Vocals are a lot of repetitive "oh's" - straight 4/4.5. Is There Anything About - probably the 2nd best track on the album, or tied with the first. At least a more classic X style track from Moroccan Roll. Improvised feel to it. Collins best drumming on the CD (though #1 is tasteful too). straight 3/4 for 1st half then changes to 4/4.6. TMIU-ATGA (They're Making It Up As They Go Along) - another tongue-in-cheek title which just noodles around for a while with no direction. A far cry from Weather Report's early atmospheric doodles. Possibly lowest point on the CD and a sad way for the band to end their original series of releases. Meter is...absent/elastic...If these tracks are pulled from Product and Do They Hurt? sessions then it is interesting to not that Collins is the only drummer here (Where is Morris Pert and Mike Clarke?) so maybe the pop direction the tracks Collins did with them during those sessions were not what everyone else wanted. John Giblin plays bass on overy track except for Percy Jones on the Title track - perhaps THAT more than anything is why the new Brand X disowned this album, if Jones is half of the original band and barely present...It is also a short CD and, it would appear, out of print again. Oh well. Check out a used copy in a record store and read the humorous liner notes not included on the CD - but unfortunaley they didn't enlist the talents of Michael Palin for this one..."
Is There Anything Necessary About This Disc?
P. McKenna | Atlanta GA | 11/01/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I'm all for bonus tracks if they're good and/or revelatory, but unfortunately, the only thing this disc reveals was Brand X in its death throes. Very little Percy Jones on here, lots of Phil Collins trying to steer things into Pop-Land and a lot of rehashed ideas that were a bit anemic the first time around. Avoid this one unless you're a screaming die-hard completeist. Otherwise, stick to the good five-star stuff like "Masques" and "Moroccan Roll"."