Live review: The Fixx's 'Beautiful Friction'
Forget Red Skies at Night. It's just been dark at night for the Fixx, who haven't released a new album since 2003's Want That Life. That all changes today with the release of Beautiful Friction, an album that's getting a lot of positive buzz as the band plays cuts off it while touring.
I've downloaded Beautiful Friction and I'm going to attempt a live review -- writing as I listen to it the first time. Hope you enjoy it. And by all means: Buy music from the bands you loved in the '80s. Many of them are still out there, putting out great music today.
Ready to click play? Here we go...
1. ANYONE ELSE: Wow. I'm totally in love all over again. The great Cy Curnin sounds on top of his game. The song just takes off with pounding drums and swooping keyboards. This is easily one of my all-time fave Fixx songs already.
2. JUST BEFORE DAWN: Okay, we slow down a little here. Good, my heart couldn't take another thumper. There's nothing "modern" about these first two songs, and I mean that as a compliment. Drop this song onto a 1984 album and you wouldn't know the difference. Guitars overthrow the keyboard here -- giving it an almost eery Echo and the Bunnymen feel. Like Anyone Else, this song is on current setlists for the band's tour.
3. TAKE A RISK: Listen to the vocals here and tell me that Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn isn't channeling Cy Curnin. Or maybe vice versa. Either way, there's nothing not to like. There's more "friction" than "beauty" to this tune -- it's nothing like the swirly fun of Red Skies or Stand or Fall. Think Saved By Zero with fuzzed out guitars.
4. BEAUTIFUL FRICTION: Lovely. The old-time feel of the Fixx -- mixed with a little Duran Duran -- appears here. It lightly treads with echoing vocals trading notes with the keyboard. I can only imagine this would make for a nice long jam in concert. Curnin's falsetto delivery is a delight.
5. WHAT GOD?: "What god does God believe in? What god believes in me?" I'm hooked so far. The second best song on the album so far ... and to be honest, I'm betting it will surpass Anyone Else on the second listen. This is the Cy Curnin and Fixx we all fell in love with.
6. SECOND TIME AROUND: This song isn't getting much love in other reviews. I'm not surprised, and not surprised to see the band isn't performing it live. It feels like David Bowie circa 1987 -- not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Just not a Fixx thing.
7. FOLLOW THAT CAB: Take out the screeching guitar, and I'd like this tune a whole lot more.
8. SHAMAN: Ahh, classic Fixx. You can hear each instrument co-mingle before Cy pulls them together in each chorus. A lyrics sheet would help here, but I assume this is some profound stuff I'm hearing beneath the inspired music. I'm bummed they're not playing this one live.
9. SOMETHING AHEAD OF YOU: The longest tune at 6 minutes, 16 seconds. ... Did I say enough times yet how much I love Cy's voice? Easily one of my favorite voices of the '80s. ... Not to quibble, but maybe 4 minutes would have been enough. This is the problem with live reviews -- your mind starts to wander too much during longer tunes. This one is growing to be "Simple Minds-long."
10. GIRL WITH NO CEILING: This pick-me-up after Something Ahead of You is greatly welcomed. God knows I love song titles like this. The Man Who Stole a Leopard ... The Kid Who Poured Me a Glass of Kool-Aid. It's '80s gold, baby.
11. SMALL THOUGHTS: Jangly guitars. Is that the right word? Feels like a 1991 tune. Not gonna be a top 5 iPod song, but they can't all be.
12. WASTED: It has all that I ask from a Fixx song: strong vocals, punky bass, vaguely dark lyrics and yet some life-affirming feel when it's all wrapped together. In a way, that's the whole Beautiful Friction album -- as good a collection of tunes as any they've released to date. It's an aptly named and very welcomed gift from a band that deserves a whole lot more love from the '80s generation.