Sunday, November 16, 2014

Brand X - 1976 Unorthodox Behaviour (Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2014)

Unorthodox Behaviour is the first album by British jazz fusion group Brand X. It peaked at 191 on The Billboard 200 in 1976, the same year it was released.

This album combines jazz fusion with some elements of progressive rock, influenced by their drummer Phil Collins, shows extensive use of improvisation in the extended pieces, which is common in both genres of music. The melody is mainly supported by guitar and bass, most notably on the opening track. Collins' drum work is very fast and rhythmic and shows a difference in his style from his main band Genesis. Tracks like "Nuclear Burn" and "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria" are often cited as a showcase for his drum work.

Phil Collins' seemingly endless well of energy afforded him two careers: one as the drummer/vocalist in Genesis, and a second as a prolific session musician. It was in this second scenario that Collins hooked up with Percy Jones, John Goodsall, and Robin Lumley during sessions for Brian Eno, Eddie Howell, and Jack Lancaster. The quartet soon formed Brand X, a fusion jazz band that matched the prodigious rhythms of Collins and fretless bassist Jones with the atmospheric melodies of Goodsall and Lumley. Unorthodox Behaviour sets the stage for what would follow: music that plies the same sonic territory as Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the like, punctuated by the distinctive styles of individual members. The songs, though credited to the band, reveal two factions at work, with Jones and Collins teaming for percussive sections and Goodsall and Lumley handling the lyrical passages. When Jones and Collins take the lead, as on the opening "Nuclear Burn" and sections of "Unorthodox Behaviour" and "Running on Three," the music takes a frenetic, mathematical tack. Goodsall and Lumley generally provide the mood, the dominant trait on "Euthanasia Waltz" and "Touch Wood." Middle ground is found on the funky "Born Ugly" and "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria," true fusions of rock and jazz. Unorthodox Behaviour samples a variety of styles: from melodic to energetic, ethereal to mathematical. Without a standout soloist like John McLaughlin or Wayne Shorter, Brand X does run the risk of sounding like a generic fusion jazz outfit, but their compositional skills pick up the slack nicely. Those interested in the band may do well to start with this album, although their next three records are just as good in terms of quality. 

Track listing

1. Nuclear Burn (6:20)
2. Euthanasia Waltz (5:39)
3. Born Ugly (8:13)
4. Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria (4:26)
5. Unorthodox Behaviour (8:25)
6. Running on Three (4:37)
7. Touch Wood (3:03)

Total Time: 40:43

Personnel

Additional personnel

Release information

Year Type Label Catalog # Country
1976 LP Charisma CAS 1117 UK
1976 LP Passport Records PB 9819 US
1976 LP Charisma 6369 977 Netherlands
1989 CD Virgin CASCD 1117 UK
1998 CD Caroline Blue Plate CAROL 1387-2 US
2006 CD Toshiba EMI Ltd VJCP-68782 Japan

3 comments:

  1. thanks a lot for this wonderful post !!! one of the best jazz-rock band ever !!

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  3. thanks for keeping this around

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