THE FIXX – Beautiful Friction (2012)
Those who only remember THE FIXX for their ‘80s hits will be pleasantly surprised by their latest release, “Beautiful Friction”.
Most known for their synth-pop chart singles ‘Saved by Zero’, ‘One Thing Leads to Another’ or ‘Red Skies at Night’, The Fixx’s music has moved toward a new maturity with the years, and their new album is one of the best of their career.
The Fixx was always a different beast from the MTV generation crowd.
Lyrically they are political and thought provoking, while musically, a review of their catalog finds a creative mixture of new wave rock, guitar-rock, progressive rock influences and even some proto-electronic work.
They were not an easy band to classify back then as their material always sounded so unlike other artists. Their music was too explorative and wide in range to pigeonholed as simple new wave pop.
So it is no surprise that many of the 11 songs on their latest CD doesn’t fit into any category or genre. In my opinion, “Beautiful Friction” is a revelation.
You get a fresh, vital energy rarely seen in a group that has been together for 30 years (same line-up) with the polished wisdom and professionalism of a seasoned rock band all spread across 11 songs.
The range of different types of songs on this CD is impressive. It goes from the blistering rock song “What God?” to the acoustic ballad “Small Thoughts”, from the rocking, politically-conscious “Take A Risk” to the almost progressive “Something Ahead of You”.
The really original “Just Before Dawn” showcases the fact that the band is stretching beyond what they are known for, and reaching for a denser sound that allows the group explore new styles — and Cy Curnin to sing in a more subdued way.
“Follow That Cab” is another rock track which exposes all the elements of The Fixx genesis, when they had a sound similar to the first U2 and alikes around Great Britain. It’s a meaty track, full of energy.
“Anyone Else” is the first single which sounds terrific and whose message is motivated by recent political and social upheaval in the world.
The album continues to deliver on surprises with the title track that has Curnin singing in a falsetto over a mid-tempo groove and a delicate guitar hook from West-Oram.
The Fixx is a criminally underrated band, perhaps punished for their ’80 synth-pop hits. But The Fixx always has been much more than that.
A band that didn’t sound quite like anyone else, and at this stage I don’t think anyone but the most ardent fans could have expected an album as strong as “Beautiful Friction”. And this occurs because they are exceptional musicians who write interesting music and compelling lyrics that still reflect our society today.
If you have doubts about the style here, this is a rock album. But not your ordinary one. It has the signature ‘Fixx sound’ while marveling at new and different textures added in. If you haven’t heard them before of only know a few of their hits, forget that, this is not synth-pop at all.
The Fixx are clearly a band with more to say and a fair amount of jetfuel still in their veins, and their new effort “Beautiful Friction” is one of the most original, different, interesting rock albums I heard in long time.
01 – Anyone Else
02 – Just Before Dawn
03 – Take a Risk
04 – Beautiful Friction
05 – What God?
06 – Second Time Around
07 – Follow That Cab
08 – Shaman
09 – Something Ahead of You
10 – Girl With No Ceiling
11 – Small Thoughts
Cy Curnin – vocals
Dan K. Brown – bass
Jamie West-Oram – guitar
Rupert Greenall – keyboards
Adam Woods – drums
BUY IT !