What do Brilliant sound like?

Most people who have heard them will think that Brilliant featuring Youth and Jimmy Cauty with June Montana as singer were fairly awful really. Cheesy, clumsy, disco pop music (albeit with loud guitars too) produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman on a major label. “But it’s also worth remembering, rather like the KLF, that there are two phases to Brilliant’s career. First they were a sort of a funky Killing Joke who released some records via indie label Rough Trade; I remember listening to their first (perhaps only) Peel Session and thinking ‘funky bass’. Then they hit the ‘big’ time, signed to WEA and were given the SAW treatment.”

“Also does ‘on a major label’ equal bad? ‘I’m sure we’ve all got favourite artists who are on majors. I do like to support indies, but I’m sure you get my point. Also ‘produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman’ does not equal bad either. Those of you who have read the Timelords’ Manual will know Bill n’ Jimmy have a deal of respect for SAW, and they’ve produced enough quite excellent pop records to be always worth a listen in my book.”

“Their near hit LP I have to confess I’ve only heard at a party and I was almost quite impressed. I thought I’d just get a few singles by them rather than buy the LP. I would describe their later sound as being quite poppy but with a harder edge. Although totally different musically in some ways they did remind me of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in terms of the interestingness of the production. As a rule bands that SAW produced who were not totally part of the SAW Hit Factory (i.e. SAW did not write their songs) are usually worth a listen.” The author of the FAQ can’t comment on this one as he’s never heard them, and he’s relying on other’s testimonies by the way.

Some more: “I finally found Brilliant’s ‘Kiss The Lips Of Life’. Backing vocals are contributed by, amongst others, Princess and Pepsi & Shirley. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since the album is produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman (except for one instrumental, “Crash The Car”, which Brilliant produced). Not totally typical S.A.W. – those guys only helped co-write 2 of the album’s 9 songs. They cover James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’, and ‘The End Of The World’, not very impressively on the latter. Two almost-catchy songs, ‘Love Is War’ and ‘Somebody’, are the highlights of the album. Cauty helped co-write the 7 original tunes.’

“Since I like S.A.W. and The KLF in all their incarnations I thought I’d like this album. Not particularly… it was done before S.A.W. found the one beat that they used in 739 Top 40 songs for Jason and Kylie, and just sounds like some poorly constructed cheesy pop. I only paid $5 for it, so I’m happy, but if you have to pay much more I’d pass.”

“Quite a few singles were lifted from that album, I have some details somewhere. It was this musical project that caused Jimmy to first meet up with Bill: Drummond was working for WEA at the time, and they put up the money for this material to be recorded etc., since it was being released on a WEA subsidiary, Food Records, run by David Balfe. The project failed: Brilliant never became the megastars they were supposed to become, and the money went towards the setting up of Pete Waterman Limited. So, you *could* say, with a touch of cynicism, that it is Bill who is responsible for all those Stock, Aitken and Waterman tunes you ever hated… ;-).”

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1 thought on “What do Brilliant sound like?

  1. Appreciate the article. It was Pepsi, or Shirley, from Pepsi & Shirley who first introduced Alan Partridge to Toblerone. What was she, or she, thinking?

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