Yesterday we mentioned that there seem to be quite a few British acts that enjoyed more success on this side of the Atlantic than at home. Today we look at the debut of one of those acts, The Fixx. Their Shuttered Room album made its first appearance this day 40 years back at home; in North America it arrived later in 1982.
The Fixx had formed in London as The Portaits three years earlier and had put out a couple of indie singles as such. By the beginning of ’82, they’d signed to MCA and changed names (originally to The Fix, but then to the double-x after the company worried the name could be too druggy-sounding) and got their first album ready, with help of well-known producer Rupert Hine. Singer Cy Curnin was the primary writer, but most versions of the release credit the other four members as well.
The Fixx had a then-contemporary “new romantic” look and a somewhat typical sound of London in the early-’80s… synthesizer pop with bits of edgy guitar, in their case by Jamie West Oram, added in. Allmusic described the album as “generic new wave,” though they credit Hine for turning it into “engaging synth pop.” Cryptic Rock compared the album in places to Duran Duran, Alphaville and Japan and sum it up as “elements of a typical post-punk, new wave (album) – upbeat tempo, angular rhythm guitar, ubiquitous synthesizer melodies, driving basslines and frenetic lead vocals.”
The album had 10 songs on it, though the European version was different than the American one. Both had the same eight songs but the original one had the added songs “Sinking Island” and “Time in a Glass” whereas they were absent on the later American release, replaced by “I Found You” and “the Strain,” a previous single b-side. Completists can take comfort, several CD versions include all of them.
The album didn’t exactly take the music world by storm, hitting #52 in Canada and #54 in their own UK. Curiously, that would end up being their best showing at home, but over here they’d score big the following year with Reach the Beach, platinum in both the U.S. and Canada. This one introduced them to North American new wave and rock fans though. “Red Skies” did OK on rock and college stations and “Stand or Fall” kicked off a run of seven-straight top 20 Mainstream Rock hits for them in the U.S. and made it into the overall Canadian top 40. both singles were , “singled” out as the most noteworthy on the album by allmusic. Cryptic Rock added in “Cameras in Paris” as a highlight but agreed with the common perception that while the bulk of the remainder of the album was quite decent, most of it wasn’t overly memorable.
The Fixx split for some time but have been mostly an ongoing effort since, with their 11th studio album, Every Five Seconds, expected out next month. The quintet consists of four of the original members; only bass has been a bit of a changeable position, with them utilizing a number of different players through the years including Chris Tait of Canada’s Chalk Circle in the ’90s.