Thursday, May 19, 2016

Brand X - 1977 - Moroccan Roll

Brand X 
Moroccan Roll

01. Sun In The Night (4:25)
02. Why Should I Lend You Mine (11:16)
03. ...Maybe I'll Lend You Mine After All (2:10)
04. Hate Zone (4:41)
05. Collapsar (1:35)
06. Disco Suicide (7:55)
07. Orbits (1:38)
08. Malaga Virgin (8:28)
09. Macrocosm (7:24)

- John Goodsall / electric & acoustic guitars, sitar, backing vocals, effects
- Robin Lumley / piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, autoharp (5), clavinet, synthesizers (Minimoog, ARP Odyssey, Roland string), backing vocals, effects
- Percy Jones / bass, autoharp (7), marimba (8), effects
- Phil Collins / drums, lead vocals, piano (3), effects
- Morris Pert / percussion

Second opus from this now-quintet, with the addition of percussionist Morris Pert, Moroccan Roll is born on an almost Canterburian pun, with an exotic Saharian artwork that has been retouched by high technology. The group is joined by Morris Pert, a percussionist that will beef up the sound of the group, but Pert will also become an important "songwriter" for the group.
One of the originality of this album is that it is Brand X's only with vocals (and even then mostly choirs) on the opening and closing tracks, but unfortunately it wasn't that good an idea. It doesn't help giving World Music credibility to the opening Sun In The Night, despite Goodsall's dabblings on a sitar. The Collins-penned double-shot "Lend" tracks (the lengthy titles might come from some Public Schoolboys friends of his that haven't fully grown up), but unlike what we'd expect, both tracks remains slow with the occasional Goodsall's McL-ian guitar bursts. A manic drum burst opens fire on the Hate zone, a full-funk piece where the group's five cylinders give it their best shot.

On the flipside, Collapsar (not to be confused with National Health's Collapso) is a short synth filler penned by Lumley and it doesn't even serve as an intro for his following Disco Suicide, an electric piano-led funky track, but certainly not my fave BX track, the synth sounds being cringe-y and the cheesy choirs and tubular bells are not helping either. Orbits is a bit Percy Jones' answer to Collapsar and just as useless, since it's no intro to his Malaga Virgen , an up-tempo track at the start where Jones tries to outdo Pastorius in the middle section, but is not helping his own composition in doing so. But Virgen's second half returns to the opening theme, before going bass-happy a second time. This writer doesn't understand all the hoopla on this track and much prefers the following monster-jam Macrocosm, the one BX track to rival with Nuclear Burn, with an overheating Goodsall guitar and an incredible end, as if the 5 cylinders of this group had problem stopping and misfired back on the track.

MR was for decades my fave BX, but once the millennium arrived, UB took over and has stayed ahead, because tMR one is too uneven, especially on the fillers. But don't get me wrong, MR is still the second best BX album and should please most fusionheads.



  2. ahahah, when you started to read my mind????
    Jusat the other day, an today to, scrolling through my digital "jazz rock" section i thought that i needed/wanted to listen to the other Brand X albums other than Unorthodox Behauvoir....

    You're a Magus!!!