Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fixx - Phantoms

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Phantoms, the third studio album from British new-wave band the Fixx. Here in the US, it spent twenty-nine weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 19. It went to number 18 in Canada.

Side one begins with “Lose Face”, a synth-quirky and bass-dominated mid-tempo number.

“Less Cities, More Moving People” was the third single from the album. This one has a dystopian, post-apocalyptic vibe to it.

“Sunshine in the Shade”, the second single, soared to number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 37 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I remember this one getting a little bit of play at campus parties, but it was not as popular as some of the other hits from the band. I think this one also could have benefited from being a bit longer, to give the song a little bit more meat to it.

“Woman on a Train” goes for a seductive feel with a sultry rhythmic swing.

The band winds things down with “Wish”, a slow moving ballad.

The side closes with “Lost in Battle Overseas”, a commentary on military missions in foreign lands. The music on this one has a variety of movements, woven together into an interesting mix.

Side two opens with “Question”. I like how the instrumentation layers on this one right from the start.

Next up is “In Suspense”. I get a winding-up sense (like with a big metal key) from this one musically. It is very tight and tense.

‘Facing the Wind” very much sounds like a slowed down, stripped back version of their earlier album hit “Red Skies”.

The first single was “Are We Ourselves?”. Powered by a heavy rotation MTV video, the track went to number 29 in Canada, number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This track was a huge party track during my sophomore year; I can recall dancing to this one on a number of nights - a definite crowd favorite.

The band slows things down once more with the heart-aching “I Will”.

The closing track for the album is the appropriately haunting “Phantom Living”.

Phantoms was released on vinyl, cassette and CD back in 1984; in 2001 it was re-released on CD. It has, however, failed to show up yet on the digital markets. So, if you want to check this one out by the Fixx, your best bet it to pull up the tracks on YouTube for a quick listen (as I did).

Outside of the singles, I was not familiar with most of this album. I found the arrangements interesting. I think it is one of those that would require multiple listens by me to really form any major attachments.

Need another fix of the Fixx? Click here for more of my blog posts featuring music from the band.


Mark said...

Sadly, the Fixx had already peaked by this point. The singles from this album were good, but not great. Why they didn't include "Deeper and Deeper" on Phantoms, I'll never figure out.

Sometime during the summer of 1984, I won tickets from a Houston radio station to see The Fixx play at Astroworld on their Phantoms tour. Sadly, the concert wasn't memorable, although the required sleeveless concert tee was acquired.

John said...

My two favorite Fixx songs are "Sunshine In The Shade", which I felt has a perfect length, and "Less Cities More Moving People". Both songs hold up amazingly well and sadly, both these songs didn't help the group go further, at least in the U.S.