Friday, May 17, 2013
The Fixx - Reach the Beach
The band roster stayed pretty stable at this point. Cy Curnin (vocals), Rupert Greenall (keyboards), Jamie West-Oram (guitar) and Adam Woods (drums) all returned. The bassist role was split between two men on the recording sessions: Alfie Agius and Dan K. Brown. Brown stayed with the band for the tour and was officially listed on the third album in 1984,
Side one opens with “One Thing Leads to Another”. As the second single, it went to number 86 in the UK, number 38 in Australia, number 14 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, and number 1 in Canada. While the guitars and percussion are in the forefront, for me it is the synth squeaks in the background that really make the song for me. It reminds me of being out dancing in the early 80’s as it was a very popular tune for parties and clubs; the 2003 CD release included an awesome eight minute extended mix of the song.
The third single “The Sign of the Fire” went to number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 20 on the Billboard Dance chart. It has a moody, almost haunting musical sound that mirrors the concerned lyrical message. Hearing it brings to mind a very dark night with a creeping fog slowly spreading everywhere.
“Running” has a catchy, foot-bouncing beat to it as it paints its picture to an uncomfortable uneasiness.
“Saved by Zero” was released as the first single; it peaked at number 98 in Australia, number 45 in Canada, number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the Billboard Dance charts. The opening guitar riff with underlying bass response sets the tone of the tune very well. Lyrically, Curnin has gone on record to say it about finding that inner place where you find a release and having nothing left to lose.
“Opinions” was the B-side to the second single. It closes out the first half on a heavier, dour note. The song’s protagonist is wallowing in a very deep pool of self-pity as he cannot deal with the harsh criticisms of others.
Side two begins with the title track. “Reach the Beach” plods along at a mid-tempo pace, mirroring the motion of someone moving against an out-going tide in the attempt to arrive at a secure destination. Here, the beach is symbolic to the heart of a love.
“Changing” features an irregular beat that takes me a little bit to synchronize to.
The bass line on “Liner”, a song set aboard an ocean bound ship, has a very funky feel to it. The synths punctuate in the background with a horn-like quality.
“Privilege” is about having special access to things others do not. It draws musically from an R&B position that gives it a very nice groove.
“Outside” closes out the original vinyl with a prominent pounding drumbeat.
While I liked a few tracks from their 1982 debut album Shuttered Room (click here for that review), this was the one that made me a big fan of the band thanks to the three hit singles. Reach the Beach was hugely popular when I went to college in the fall of 1983. I remember quite fondly that the name was used quite often for party themes in the dorms; there would be huge posters recreating the iconic album art to advertise the events hanging in the lobby of the main dining hall.