A daring debut
WillieB | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the mid seventies jazz-fusion was at it's peak and there was no shortage of quality records being released. For me, one of the fusion bands that stood out was Brand X. Their music was captivating, all band members were tremendous talents, but most importantly, they had an original sound. Thirty years after it's release, this debut disc still is amazing and would be a great introduction to this band. John Goodsall shreds with the best of them but his soothing guitar work is just as striking. The chirping tones that Percy Jones creates on his fretless bass are unmistakable. Robin Lumley enhances it all by playing the perfect keyboard riff at the right time, and Phil Collins, on a break from Genesis, laid down some exciting drumming, maybe some of the best he has ever done. Enjoy."
Interesting variation on the jazz rock theme
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been listening to the English jazz rock group Brand X for a long time now and this was the album I started with. This 1976 debut by the group is fantastic and presents a neat twist on the jazz rock theme. That is, while the band is largely indebted to the breakneck tempos and thunderous volume of groups like the Mahavishnu Orchestra circa 1971-1973, I can also hear traces of the English Canterbury bands and experimental composers like Brian Eno (most likely stemming from the involvement of Phil Collins and Percy Jones on Brian's Another Green World album from 1975).
The lineup on Unorthodox Behaviour includes Phil Collins (drums and percussion), Robin Lumley (keyboards, synthesizers), John Goodsall (electric and acoustic guitars) and Percy Jones (fretless electric bass).
Like many of the jazz rock musicians these guys were world class musicians and possess dazzling technical skill. Of course as a huge Genesis fan I was especially pleased by the presence of Phil and he demonstrates throughout why he "was" considered to be among the finest drummers in rock. As a bassist myself, I have always liked Percy Jones - he has a very distinctive style that at times, seems like he is completely out of control. I am also happy that he does not use the fretless bass in a traditional sense, i.e., glissandos and instead plays the instrument as if it were fretted. John Goodsall is a criminally underappreciated guitarist and his approach is largely indebted to the style of virtuoso John McLaughlin (from Mahavishnu Orchestra).
Musically, this album presents a heady blend of wild, full-throttle jazz rock, some quieter experimentation highly reminiscent of the music off of Another Green World, and aspects of the Canterbury style. There are nice dynamic contrasts (including nice acoustic sections) and the compositions are very interesting - in this respect, I wish that the keyboardist had more of a presence. Although not something I normally discuss when reviewing an album, there were moments when I actually found myself tapping my foot - particularly on the more "swinging" pieces. Phil was instrumental in this respect and as he was so fond of saying, really "got behind" these pieces and simply grooved. The album closes on an interesting note with the quiet, earthy textures of Touch Wood.
This reissue features pretty skimpy liner notes and while the overall sound quality is excellent, there was some slight distortion on the drums, particularly when Phil is smashing away on a "China-boy" type cymbal. Indeed, when Phil really gets cooking on the lower kit (bass drum/floor toms etc) I can also hear some slight distortion. Apart from my nitpicking however, this really is a well-recorded album.
All in all, this is an excellent example of jazz rock fusion that is different from the standard jazz rock affair and is very highly recommended. Another cool (and recommended) album is Another Green World by Brian Eno. Although very different than the music on Unorthodox Behaviour, the album features great interplay between Phil and Percy on a few tunes."