Brand X

The X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective

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Well, they had to get around to that title eventually. A scattershot and somewhat misleading retrospective, this two-disc set is strictly for die-hard Brand X fans. Although the set is subtitled "A 20 Year Retrospective," this is in no way a career overview. Disc one consists of ten previously unreleased live recordings in reverse chronological order, from the 1997 Manifest Destiny tour to the group's initial mid-'70s lineup, when Phil Collins and Robin Lumley were the band's drummer and keyboardist. Unsurprisingly, this disc gets more interesting as it goes on, reaching its pinnacle with the rocking (but annoyingly muddy-sounding) "Don't Make Waves." Disc two technically is not Brand X at all, but a sampling of extracurricular projects by group leaders John Goodsall and Percy Jones, in tandem and separately. These tracks come mostly from the '90s, which is long after Goodsall and Jones lost their ability to create dynamic and challenging music. As a result, the disc is of mild curiosity at best and is profoundly irritating at worst.

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