Reach the Beach is a significant step forward from the Fixx's debut album, Shuttered Room, simply because the band can now craft immediately accessible, incessantly catchy pop/rock melodies. "One Thing Leads to Another" has a big, ringing guitar hook hammered home by the dance beat, while "Saved by Zero" and "The Sign of Fire" are cool, robotic slices of synth pop. Although the rest of the album isn't quite as catchy as those three hits, Reach the Beach remains a pleasant collection of immaculately produced and stylishly danceable new wave.
Hailing from England, The Fixx has been often heralded as one of the most innovative bands to come out of the MTV era. The style and substance of the band has always created a special connection with its audience. The Fixx’s themes are often complex, introspective and thought-provoking and it’s also been mass appeal with three #1 hits, five in the Top Five, a dozen reaching the Top Ten and millions of albums sold worldwide. Instantly recognizable, The Fixx sound is unmistakably unique and stands out among the thousands of artists filling the airwaves. Songs such as “One Thing Leads To Another”, “Red Skies” and “Saved By Zero” remain everyday staples on the playlists of the rock, Hot AC and alternative radio stations that continue to break new acts inspired the era that The Fixx helped to define. It is rare for an audience to experience a band that has continued to thrive for twenty-five years…
Recorded in 1988 during the European tour for The Fixx's sixth album CALM ANIMALS (for some reason not released until 1996), REAL TIME STOOD STILL is a well-played, crisply-recorded, well-chosen set that shows The Fixx at a critical stage in their career. After 1986's "Secret Separation," The Fixx never had another US hit, and the English group refocused their energies on their continuing European success. Judging by the sound of the audience, The Fixx were big in Germany at this time. Only about a third of these 17 tracks were US hits, including of course "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Stand or Fall," and most of the rest of the disc is devoted to the less commercially successful WALKABOUT and CALM ANIMALS discs. REAL TIME STOOD STILL is an interesting curio for American fans.
ROCKPALAST is a legendary 'live' music TV show hosted in Germany by the WDR channel. It first broadcast in 1974 and has become a pan-European television institution. It has its own fan club and online forum, and in almost four decades, it has become a trademark of quality viewing and listening. PERFORMANCE DATE: Markthalle Hamburg, 22 February 1985 The Fixx was something of an anomaly on the British music scene as the 1970s gave way to the 1980s – as they were a ‘New Wave’ quintet that enjoyed far more success in the USA and continental Europe than they did back home in the UK. The Fixx wrote and recorded melodic, concise New Wave Rock, led by the powerful and emotive vocals of Cy Curnin, with the strong guitar work of Jamie West-Oram and keyboards of Rupert Greenall offering contrasting musical depth and texture.
The Fixx's music stood out from '80s radio, even though they shared the airwaves with numerous techno bands and new wave groups. They had an intangible quality to their lyrical flow and musical rhythm that kept them from sounding like everyone else. On One Thing Leads to Another, the indistinguishable characteristics become evident as all of their best songs are played out, making for quite an amusing compilation.
The Fixx had a banner year in 1983, as their second album, Reach the Beach, broke down doors and gave the band a huge hit with "One Thing Leads to Another." Phantoms wasn't as good, not just because Reach the Beach had that hit but also because it was simply a really good mainstream new wave record. Phantoms was a little more serious, a little more lugubrious, a little directionless, but it still is a pretty good record, all the same. The reason why? The Fixx were a good band. They had an original sound, thanks to the echoing synths, clean-processed guitars, cavernous drums, and Cy Curnin's soaring voice, which soared over the precise arrangements to make it sound human. The wondrous thing about this combination is that it sounded appealing even when the material wasn't the equal of the sound, which is often the case on Phantoms. That's not to say it's a disaster, because it hardly is – the band sounds good, and the record is a shining example of post-new wave production. But, it does play a bit as singles and filler, with the Top 20 hit "Are We Ourselves" shining brightly among the record's 12 songs, but "Lose Face," the reggae-tinged "Sunshine in the Shade," and "Woman on a Train" all were fine Fixx songs, standing proudly among the perfectly acceptable, but rather undistinguished, cuts that formed the rest of the album, including a preponderance of long, moody synth ballads. Even if it was an uneven record, its ratio of hits to filler was no greater than most pop albums. However, Phantoms had the misfortune of arriving in one of the greatest years for pop music, a year where every kind of style was in full bloom. So, Phantoms fell by the wayside, but, in retrospect, it was an admirable successor to an album that defined a band's career. AMG