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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

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Unorthodox Behaviour

Review by Steve Alspach

Those fans of progressive music who stick their fingers down their throat at the mention of the name "Phil Collins" may not be familiar with this piece of work. If they were, they may think that Phil may deserve a bit of redemption before being cast to purgatory. Getting a bit bored with the recording of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", and Genesis' direction in general, Phil satisfied his interest in fusion by forming one of the best fusion outfits around. Here Phil gets to let his hair down (or however much he had back then), and his drumming has never been as powerful as it is on "Unorthodox Behaviour." The compositions stay away from the fusion pitfall of "pick a key and see how fast you can solo," but instead show a band with a good sense of melody. As a result, the album itself never ceases to shine nor does it sound outdated. The personnel for this album are Phil Collins, drums and percussion; John Goodsall, guitars; Percy Jones, bass; and Robin Lumley, keyboards.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Nuclear Burn
This is a pedal-to-the-metal 7/4 workout that shows that this is a band to be reckoned with. From Jones' opening riff to the end, it's a raucous endeavor. Collins sounds like he's having a bit of a time keeping up with the band early on, but by the end he has settled in and leads the group to the track's blowout ending.
Euthanasia Waltz
It's a waltz, but it never gets wimpy - the band knows to keep the right amount of muscle in the right places. Lumley gets a solo on a Fender Rhodes, and Jones follows up with a bass solo.
Born Ugly
The first part of this song shows the band getting funky before going into a relaxed, Metheny-Mays-like groove. They go back into the funk groove before shifting gears at the four-minute mark. Goodsall gets his first solo on the album here, and the band then flits between a different groove and a syncopated riff.
Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria
The song starts with a straight-ahead riff, leading you to think that this will be a verse-chorus-verse-chorus song, but the band gets experimental after the first verse. The group then comes back to the verse riff before changing direction.
Unorthodox Behaviour
There are more funk grooves here. Jones starts off with some simmering bass riffing before Goodsall and Collins join in. The band keeps this groove going throughout the song's eight-plus minutes. There's a feeling of improv as well as an underlying sense of humor in this song, as Goodsall is credited with playing "old copies of 'Newsweek'" and Collins plays cellophane and "bird calls." Jones plays marimba at one point to give the song a Zappa-esque feel.
Running on Three
Lumley and Jones double on the opening theme while Goodsall plays some incredibly tight rhythm guitar. Goodsall and Lumley then take the next theme. Jones' bass playing on this tune must have led lesser bassists to go back to their day jobs - his playing is that nimble yet tight.
Touch Wood
The band finish off with an all-acoustic arrangement here - guitar, bass, piano, and percussion. (And who, in 1970s fusion, was playing all acoustic?) After a spacey opening, the band falls into place. Lumley takes lead while Goodsall plays rhythm, and Collins' percussion is very light - all brushwork. Jack Lancaster comes in towards the end on soprano saxophone. This song is all too brief at 3:10, though - the band could have gone to some interesting places with this arrangement.
 
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