George Starostin's Reviews



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Ryan <> (17.02.2002)

Having heard more than a little of John McLaughlin's stuff, I'm actually quite amazed at how Brand X is able to take the basic Mahavishnu sound (minus violins, tho) and actually make it more grounded and easier to latch on to for us listeners. I think the reason might be that, yeah, this is a band dictated by Phil Collins' drumming, and fusion bands with strong drummers (Tony Williams' Lifetime, fer example) tend to be better on the emotional front. And a big huzzah to Phil on here...I simply never had any idea he could drum this well. He's one step away from Williams-level. Now if only they might make it just a bit more straightforwardly rocking I'd have my head taken off. I DO miss McLaughlin's jaw dropping runs (one of the reasons I give fusion a chance at all)...I keep waiting for Goodsall to pop out but they never quite come. Oh's grand for drum guys and fans of that early Eno solo-record bass playing. 4 stars.


Tagbo Munonyedi <> (07.02.2006)

It's no surprize that albums like this [ notwithstanding Phil Collins ] made virtually no impression on the direction of British music in general. But it's also a shame because this is a cleverly inventive album. I think people tended to think of jazz fusion as a strictly American sport - and most of it was. But not all of it. Prog showed that [ despite the later protestations of the punks ] in many British players lay a desire to get better and to extend themselves in terms of composition and instrumentation. It seems to me that the British punks were [ I suspected this back in the 70s ] hypocritical [ and hyper - critical ] because they lambasted progress and seemed to be saying to the bands of their time " stay the same, knock out the same old stuff as long as WE like it ". Well, that is as unrealistic as you can get because intrinsic to human nature is the notion of progress. We may be slow to get there but get there we will. Phil Collins needed Brand X to stop himself stagnating within Genesis and if you want to blame / credit anyone IMHO for helping Uncle Phil becoming the big international deal that he did, blame this lot ! But while you do, have a listen. It is, admittedly, a hard listen at first, but it is worth it. It shows some interesting colours, demonstrates that the fretless bass could attack as well as skate, we see Phil Collins as a dynamic percussionist and these fellas could write damn good songs. The opening track " Sun in the night " is a surprizing delight, yet to me though in eastern vein, is so English ! It's so funky ! The album takes one through a variety of moods then it ends with one of the best fusion songs I know, " Macrocosm " which sports a hilarious riff aligned with some fantastic playing. A very appropriate ending too. Shows that when the Brits got hold of a genre, their quirkiness took it to other places entirely.


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Pekka Ranta <> (27.03.2003)

Short comment: you credit Morris Pert for keyboards on "Masques" but he plays percussion, the keyboard player is Peter Robinson (of Quatermass and Sun Treader "fame").

Anyway, your reviews are brilliant; even if I didn't agree with your view I've laughed my head off!


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