Brand X

Do They Hurt?

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AllMusic Review by

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.

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