02. Masques (3:17)
03. Black Moon (4:48)
04. Deadly Nightshade (10:54)
05. Earthdance (6:10)
06. Access to Data (8:04)
07. The Ghost of Mayfield Lodge (10:08)
- John Goodsall / guitar
- Peter Robinson / keyboards
- Percy Jones / bass
- Chuck Bürgi / drums
- Morris Pert / percussion, Fender piano (3)
- Norman Choir / credited on track 1 but unidentifiable (?)
I've never met a Brand X album that I didn't like, and Masques is definitely one of the strongest of a stellar company!
For this one, Chuck Bergi takes over the skins from Phil Collins (who'll return to the fold for PRODUCT), and does a very stalwart and capable job. Founding band members John Goodsall (guitar) and Percy Jones (one of the all-time MASTERS of the fretless bass) remain, and percussionist Morris Pert is back to hit various and sundry instruments, objects and parts of Britain.
All of the songs on this disc are great, but I especially enjoy those by Pert: the powerful "Deadly Nightshade," the ebullient "Earth Dance," and the surprisingly pretty and delicate "Black Moon." (Goodsall's "Access to Data" is also awesome!) As always, the band leads the listener down many winding, weird and wondrous paths, with complex rhythms and time signatures. Throughout it all, their sense of timing is impeccable -- these are strictly top-shelf musicians!
But be warned: Brand X is typically not what I would classify as progressive rock. (There are, however, some genuine "prog" moments on the much more commercial -- and hence aptly named -- PRODUCT.) It's much more in the "jazz-fusion" vein: (generally) instrumental, electric, and often frantic. Thus, their music can be challenging and "difficult" for the uninitiated. (When I first heard them as a teen, I didn't much care for them, and dismissed their sound as "organized jamming." With age and more exposure to other forms of music, however, I finally "got" the band, and learned to love them!)
That said, if you have an open musical mind, and room for diversity in your collection, you'll likely grow to really appreciate this fabulously-talented band's unique, eclectic "brand" of music, and MASQUES would be a fine way to commence (or augment) your Brand X collection! Far out!