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CD Reviews: Review of The 25th Anniversary Anthology by The Fixx
Harris Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com The Fixx: The 25th Anniversary Anthology (Rainman  2006)

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As with so many ‘80s bands, it has to be a little depressing to be the Fixx. They had a positively tremendous run from 1983 to 1989, producing some of the best singles of the decade – “Stand or Fall,” “Red Skies,” “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Saved By Zero,” “Are We Ourselves?,” “Secret Separation,” and “Driven Out” – and, yet, the second 1990 arrived, it was, like, “Well, what have you done this decade? Nothing for nobody. NEXT!”

It’s hard to believe that it’s twenty-five years down the road since lead singer Cy Curnin, guitarist Jamie West-Oram, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, and drummer Adam Woods started the band – originally known as the Fix – but what’s even more impressive is that the only position within the group to have ever featured any rotation has been that of bassist. (Currently, the role is filled by Gary Tibbs, late of Adam and the Ants.) Otherwise, the original lineup remains intact, an accomplishment which is only slightly diminished by the fact that, as a result, they do not meet the necessary criteria for the exposure on VH-1’s “Bands Reunited” that has helped some of their peers get back on the mainstream radar. This is a tremendous shame, as, beyond a six-year-long self-imposed hiatus from 1992 to 1998, they’ve continued making records as well.

The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Anthology, which has just emerged on Rainman, has a track listing that, on its surface, will make fans drool…but the reality of the compilation is somewhat more disheartening; the 2-disc set does a lot of flip-flopping between studio, live, acoustic, and alternate versions of tracks, which makes for a decidedly uneven presentation of the band’s career. The first five songs are all from Shuttered Room and are the original versions; from there, however, “One Thing Leads to Another” and “Deeper and Deeper are live, then “Saved By Zero” is studio, then “Are We Ourselves?” and “Secret Separation” are live. To be fair, the reason behind this is probably because it was cost-prohibitive for the band to license all of the original versions from their former label, MCA, but that doesn’t make it any less jarring. It is, however, nice to hear material from the underrated Calm Animals disc (the band’s only record for RCA) as well as Ink.

Disc 2 is predominantly from the band’s more recent releases, but, again, it’s infuriatingly tainted by the choice to bypass versions of songs from 1998’s Elemental in favor of arguably inferior alternate takes and early versions which later appeared on Happy Landings and Lost Tracks. The material from Touch, however, is all as it originally appeared, providing a nice summary of what the band’s sound is like today. (Hint: it’s rather like it used to be, so if you liked what they used to do, you’ll like this stuff as well.)

This double-disc collection could’ve been the definitive document of the Fixx up to this point in their career; instead, it’s arguably not even as good as the single-disc Ultimate Collection that came out via Hip-O (a Universal re-issue label) a few years back. Happy birthday, boys, and here’s to many more; it’s just a shame this couldn’t have been a better present to your fans. 

~Will Harris 


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