It’s no secret that The Fixx is one of my favorite bands. Never mind that their lineup is the same now as it was back in 1983 when they reached their pinnacle with the sophomore album Reach the Beach. A stellar album produced by Rupert Hine and produced their biggest hit One Thing Leads to Another. Not to mention for us early MTV heads, Saved By Zero.
By the time their third album Phantoms had touched down in 1984, their sound was locked in. It was an ethereal journey floating with a moody ambiance put in motion with Rupert Greenall‘s keyboards and Jamie West-Oram‘s guitar flowing through the melodies like water darting through woven fabric threads. And holding everything together was the foundation of Dan K. Brown‘s magnificent bass riffs and Adam Wood‘s impeccable internal metronome. All of which feature Cy Curnin‘s lyrics that were awash with emotional, political, and intellectual prowess.
And as the albums continued to come over the years and over the decades, the vibrance and ethereal soundscapes slowly faded like low tide, although there were hints of a spark that was still burning. You could sense it. All of the ingredients were there. All it needed was a combination of world events and inspiration to make it a bonfire all over again. Then it happened, briefly, in 2012 in the form of their album Beautiful Friction. It was a collection of a handful of great songs holding everything together.
Now, 10 years later, it’s happening again, but this time with a gale force that warrants everyone’s attention. It’s in the form of their newest album Every Five Seconds where every, single, song, is a masterclass in how to create the perfect aural metaverse that you’ll have a hard time wanting to leave.
For Fixxtures that loved The Fixx‘s music between Reach the Beach and Ink, and definitely Phantoms, this is the album you’ve been waiting for. Stand-out tracks like Wake Up seem to pay homage to Nirvana‘s Come As You Are with its eerily similar guitar effects, progression, and pacing. There is an overall tone of urgency and calm all at the same time.
There is a brooding theme lyrically that sets aside some of Cy’s more hardened political stances of the 80’s and spends more time on self-reflection while touching on specific topics like depression and loneliness (check out A Life Survived and Lonely as a Lighthouse). There is also an overwhelming frustration that retrospects his previous political ire. As if he’s stepping back to ask, “What’s the point?” and then arriving at, “I’m trying way too hard to get my point across and it seems futile because you’re either not listening or running in the opposite direction.”
The primary element that Fixx fans will gravitate towards is simply the vibe and the aural journey. Those aforementioned soundscapes that The Fixx mastered in the 80’s as did fellow artists like Peter Gabriel, The Police, and Thomas Dolby. Soundscapes that gave us past deep tracks like Cameras in Paris, Privilege, and essentially the entire Phantoms album.
This newest album gives Fixx fans what they’ve been craving and is full of fantastically written melodies and chord structures that are far more technical than they have delivered in the past. Those soundscapes are deliciously back with tracks like the single Woman of Flesh and Blood, Wake Up, and Suspended in Make Believe. All of which are daisy-chained together with strong, solid core tracks that are intelligent and introspective.
The production work by Stephen W Tayler (Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel) is what lends pretty definitive reasoning as to why the album has the audio chemistry that it does. Then they top it off by placing the mastering work over to Alex Wharton (Paul McCartney, My Bloody Valentine, The Chemical Brothers) at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London that added the extra effects that make this album a “must wear headphones” adventure.
The end result is The Fixx‘s strongest album in over three decades. Full of the dramatic lyrical intrigue and spacious musical journeys that traipse through fields of floating dandelion seeds across the backdrop of a starry night sky and ending firmly on a beach where your toes are firmly planted in the sand. Is that visual enough? If it is, then you can mentally grasp where this album is going to take you.
Get it now. Do NOT forget the headphones.