Sunday, November 16, 2014

Brand X - 1980 Do They Hurt (Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2014)

Do They Hurt? (1980) is an album by British jazz fusion group Brand X. The tracks on this album are outtakes from the Product sessions. ("Noddy Goes to Sweden" was a B-side from Product.)

Brand X is guilty of going through the motions on Do They Hurt? At this juncture in Brand X's career, John Goodsall and Percy Jones are the principal forces, with Phil Collins, Morris Pert, and Robin Lumley reduced to a couple of cameos. Peter Robinson, who adopts Lumley's role of providing dreamy keyboards, and drummer Mike Clarke pick up the slack well enough, though John Giblin appears only on one track (the solid if predictably Goodsallian "Voidarama"). The album's strongest track is Goodsall's "Cambodia," which features his mesmerizing arpeggios and heroic guitar leads in a solid progressive rock instrumental. Little else on Do They Hurt? sounds better than outtakes from previous efforts, however. "Noddy Goes to Sweden" and "Triumphant Limp" are under-inspired efforts from Percy Jones; "Fragile!" (cowritten by Jones and Robinson) lacks the marimba-laden magic that made "Disco Suicide" so interesting. The album's most intriguing, and in many ways frustrating, track is "Act of Will," another attempt at a pop crossover from Goodsall that squanders a good melody by employing heavily treated (and barely intelligible) vocals from the guitarist. The record's final song, "D.M.Z.," is little more than a case of noodling around in a familiar environment. Over the years, Goodsall and Jones have developed unique compositional styles -- one listen will reveal who wrote what. But it's all been done better on earlier albums; without the eclectic approach of Product, Do They Hurt? reveals itself to be little more than a retread of earlier ideas. Of minor interest, Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin provides mildly amusing liner notes. 

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Noddy Goes To Sweden (4:30)
2. Voidarama (4:25)
3. Act of Will (4:44)
4. Fragile! (5:26)
5. Cambodia (4:30)
6. Triumphant Limp (7:28)
7. D.M.Z. (8:37)

Total Time: 39:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Percy Jones / bass on (1,3,4,5,7), vocals on (1)
- Peter Robinson / keyboards, tam-tam on (5,6)
- Michael Clarke / drums on (1,3,4,5,7)
- John Goodsall / guitar on (2,3,5,6,7), vocals on (3)
- John Giblin / bass on (2,6)
- Phil Collins / drums on (2,6)
- Robin Lumley / keyboards on (2,6)

Notes

  • Robin Lumley (2002): "To this day I can proudly count Michael Palin and Terry Jones as good pals! I got Mike to do the sleeve notes on "Do They Hurt ?" (which is itself a line from Holy Grail (witch sequence)... He wanted 25 pence for writing the notes... Charisma didn't pay him so he threatened to sue! (a joke of course)".
  • "Act of Will" is sung through a vocoder. John Goodsall himself said, in a private e-mail, that there were never any written lyrics. Various attempts have been made to puzzle out what he is saying, but the words are likely similar to Masoko Tanga by The Police and are not always words.
  • This album consists of out-takes from the Product sessions. Because "Noddy Goes to Sweden" was included on this album, the song "Pool Room Blues" gains the distinction of being the only non-album Brand X song.

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