1979 in London, England, as The Portraits
Core '80s Group Members:
- Cy Curnin (born Cyril John Curnin on December 12, 1957 in Wimbledon, England) - Lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, primary lyricist
- Jamie West-Oram (born March 19, 1954 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England) - Guitars
- Rupert Greenall - Keyboards
- Dan K. Brown (born June 4, 1951 in London, England) - Bass guitar
- Adam Woods (born April 8, 1953 in London, England) - Drums
For whatever reason during the '80s, bands were often forced to choose between being an exclusively guitar-fueled band or a synth/keyboard-based one. New wave and its most popular subgenre synth pop usually edged away from guitars, while arena rock and hard rock generally downplayed keyboards. In this area The Fixx served as a bridge between these all-or-nothing approaches, forging a mainstream melodic sound owing equally to electric guitars and keyboards. Along the way, Curnin became an underrated but powerful singer of some high-quality tunes.
Curnin and Woods started a band in the wake of England's punk rock explosion, though The Portraits' initial keyboard-tinged pop owed very little to that form's aggression and jagged edge. In fact, mainstream success was immediately in the band's crosshairs, as label MCA objected to the group's intermediate name, The Fix, fearing interpreted drug connotations. In this way The Fixx was born, experiencing numerous personnel shifts leading up to the release of its debut album, 1982's Shuttered Room.
The Fixx Strikes Pop Gold:
Although early singles "Stand or Fall" and "Red Skies" generated plenty of positive attention for the group on both sides of the Atlantic, 1983 was a particularly big year for The Fixx. Sophomore release Reach the Beach spawned three hit singles in the U.S., one of which ("One Thing Leads to Another") reached the Top 5 on the pop charts in both America and Canada. The album performed well also, reaching the U.S. Top 10, and The Fixx had by now captured a distinct mainstream rock sound with more substance and permanence than much new wave of the period.
A Fixx of Consistency:
Clearly outlasting the generally fixed duration of new wave's appeal, The Fixx produced some understated classics in "Deeper and Deeper," "Secret Separation" and "Driven Out," scattered evenly through the remainder of the decade. In so doing, the quintet efficiently combined substantial lyrical themes with dense, melodic musical layers. Unfortunately, these tunes couldn't break the Billboard pop Top 20 despite impressive results on the niche mainstream rock charts. Even so, The Fixx had far more to offer than merely efficient reliability as an '80s act.
New Album for 2012:
For the ensuing two decades, The Fixx made music much more sporadically and slowly evolved into a bit of a fixture on the retro touring scene. Longtime bass player Brown left the band for a while during this period but returned in 2008, just in time for a celebratory 25-year compilation album. Even so, the band has not resorted merely to exploiting past successes, as a brand new studio LP featuring the classic lineup, titled Beautiful Friction, is scheduled for an early 2012 release. Here's hoping The Fixx can succeed in recapturing its solid '80s form.