The Fixx’s Shuttered Room Turns 35

The Fixx’s Shuttered Room Turns 35

Formed in London, England in 1979, The Fixx currently consists of founders Cy Curnin (lead vocals), Adam Woods (drums, percussion), and Rupert Greenall (keyboards, backing vocals) and longtime members Jamie West-Oram (guitars, backing vocals) and Dan K. Brown (bass, backing vocals). The English band broke into the international scene in late 1983 with its sophomore release, particularly with the strength of the U.S. Billboard chart-topping “One Thing Leads to Another,” the second single culled from this album. However, the New Wave angularity and brilliance of The Fixx remain rooted in its first album.

Released on May 13, 1982, Shuttered Room is The Fixx’s debut offering. The sense of urgency that has become a distinctive characteristic of many of the songs of the English band was immediately apparent as soon as track number one plays. “I Found You” has the elements of a typical Post-Punk New Wave song—upbeat tempo, angular rhythm guitar, ubiquitous synthesizer melodies, driving bass-line, and frenetic lead vocals.

The dance-floor-enticing mood seeps smoothly into the ensuing, equally jagged-sounding “Some People.” The glittery lights then turn a bit dim with the synth-soaked mid-tempo ballad “Stand or Fall.” The feverish playing returns with “The Strain,” which will fit well on a playlist that includes fellow flanged-guitar-heavy classics of the genre such as Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth,” Rational Youth’s “Saturdays in Silesia,” Wire Train’s “Chamber of Hellos,” and B-Movie’s “Nowhere Girl.” And then there is the hauntingly catchy Goth stomper “Red Skies,” which has very well stood the test of time, continuing to age potently like fine wine and remaining the favorite The Fixx song of many New Wave enthusiasts.

“Lost Planes” relaxes the listener initially for a bit, owing to its slow buildup, only to catch up eventually with the overall danceability of the whole album. Following next is “Cameras in Paris,” whose infectious Oriental keyboard melody may remind the initiated of similar excursions by The Vapors (“Turning Japanese”), Japan (“Gentlemen Take Polaroids”), Alphaville (“Big in Japan”), and The Cure (“Kyoto Song”).

Another slowing down of pace comes in the form of “I Live,” whose metallic percussive parts, catchy sing-along-worthy chorus, and hint of progressiveness courtesy of the multilayered vocal harmony foreshadowed the intricate song arrangement that became a standout feature of many of The Fixx’s songs through the rest of its discography; for instance, “Secret Separation,” from 1986’s Walkabout; and “Anyone Else,” from 2012’s Beautiful Friction. At barely three minutes, the penultimate title track is short, swift, sweeping, and slashing like a Devo whip. Finally, The Fixx closes its Shuttered Room with the undulating, waving, and pulsating rhythm and beat of “The Fool.” Only a New Wave fool would want to exit that room and never come back.

To date, The Fixx has released ten albums, spawning countless chart-topping singles over the years. However, to really dig the band’s sonic aesthetics, one has no other path to take but to return to the beginning and enter the doors of Shuttered Room, where it all began. Longtime fans of the band will surely rediscover the beauty of this thirty-five-year-old gem, whereas new and young enthusiasts of Alternative Rock and Indie Pop may certainly use it as a good starting point in learning about the roots of their preferred music genres. For instance, tracing back the guitar-oriented New Wave sensibilities of recent bands like Kaiser Chiefs (“I Predict a Riot”), Franz Ferdinand (“Take Me Out”), and British Sea Power (“Bad Bohemian”), they will inevitably find The Fixx’s electrically charged and frenetically bursting beginning along the way.

MCA Records

Purchase Shuttered Room: Amazon 

The Fixx 2017 Tour Dates:
JUL 21, 2017 PALA, CA Starlight Theatre
JUL 29, 2017 LOS ANGELES, CA Microsoft Theater

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
elfideas102@yahoo.com

Born in 1971 in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella immigrated to Canada in 2003. He has since then been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, working fulltime at a health care institution in the city while also serving as the associate contributing editor of a local community newspaper, tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, Music, and Genres. Prior to coming to Canada, he was a registered nurse in the Philippines and worked as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and magazines, handling Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. He was also the frontman and chief songwriter of an Alternative Rock/New Wave band, Half Life Half Death, releasing an album and a handful of singles. In Canada, he formed another band, haLf man haLf eLf; they are currently working on their first album. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books; listening to music; taking care of his eight-year-old son, Evawwen; participating at various community events; and exploring the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever schedule permits him. He has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines and, eventually, websites. He started writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015. In 2016, he published Part One (Literature & Languages) of his essay series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology.

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