The Fixx - Beautiful Friction

(CD 2012, 48:55, Hypertension HYP 12291)

The tracks:
  1- Anyone Else(3:50)
  2- Just Before Dawn(4:36)
  3- Take a Risk(3:46)
  4- Beautiful Friction(5:43)
  5- What God?(4:14)
  6- Second Time Around(4:16)
  7- Follow That Cab(3:20)
  8- Shaman(4:15)
  9- Something Ahead of You(6:16)
10- Girl with No Ceiling(4:03)
11- Small Thoughts(4:34)

The Fixx Website        myspace        Hypertension Music

The Fixx are an English rock band formed in London in 1979. Their hits include One Thing Leads To Another, Red Skies, Stand Or Fall, Saved By Zero, Sign Of Fire, Are We Ourselves?, Secret Separation, Driven Out, How Much Is Enough? and Deeper And Deeper, which was featured on the soundtrack of Streets Of Fire. Their most popular albums were

Shuttered Room (1982), Reach The Beach (1983), Phantoms (1984), Walkabout (1986) and Calm Animals (1988). Almost all these albums were recorded by the classic line-up featuring Dan K. Brown (bass), Cy Curnin (lead vocals), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), James West-Oram (guitar) and Adam Woods (drums, percussion).

Their musical style is very difficult to pigeonhole because it's a mixture of different genres like new wave, pop, rock and progressive rock. Maybe you could say that The Fixx always flirted with mainstream music with their catchy and keyboard-driven pop sound. This sometimes very commercial sounding band got my attention after seeing them a number of times on TV stations as MTV. People from the UK and USA really loved this band and made them great rock stars, but after Dan K. Brown quit in 1994 they became less successful. He was replaced by other musicians like Chris Tate and Gary Tibbs.

However, in 2008 long-time bassist Brown rejoined The Fixx. From that moment on the band regularly toured in the US and celebrated the 25th anniversary of making music together. This milestone was accompanied by the release of the 2-CD compilation called Twenty-fifth Anniversary Anthology. Now the classic line-up has been restored, The Fixx have released their tenth studio album Beautiful Friction in 2012. Well, this new album once again shows why I loved them so much in the eighties; the same kind of music which made them famous thirty years ago can be heard on the eleven compositions. This is what I missed on the comeback album of Ultravox after their absence in the music scene for so many years. Brilliant (see review) didn't have the same musical spirit that was present on the albums before the break.

With the return of Mr. Brown it seems the chemistry between the band members returned. I guess a lot of touring might have been important as well. By doing so the bonds of friendship got probably stronger which resulted in outstanding songs that hardly contain weak spots. The voice of Cy Curnin hasn't changed that much compared to their previous albums. He still sounds strong, and aggressive when needed. Also the typical modern keyboard sounds are present again. Even the strong guitar riffs remained and occasionally a guitar solo can be heard as well.

I can only say to The Fixx: welcome back and keep making such fine albums as Beautiful Friction, though I think that most prog heads won't like it, since it lacks the usual epic pieces and the large instrumental parts and solos. However, that doesn't mean that the music is less enjoyable. In a way you might compare the music of The Fixx to the music of the Dutch band ENorm on their album Finding My Way (see review): mixing prog rock with elements taken from the music made by bands as Coldplay, U2 and Keane.

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Where to buy?

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013