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FIXX (Buy CDs by this artist)
Shuttered Room (MCA) 1982
Reach the Beach (MCA) 1983
Phantoms (MCA) 1984
Walkabout (MCA) 1986
React (MCA) 1987
Calm Animals (RCA) 1988
Greatest Hits: One Thing Leads to Another (MCA) 1989
Ink (Impact-MCA) 1991

Although they sound like a dozen other pretentious synth-heavy atmospheric English dance bands of the early '80s, London's Fixx (originally the Fix), aided immeasurably for a time by producer Rupert Hine's ability to sculpt their mundane songs and uncover marginal tense appeal, have managed to become enormously successful, regularly drawing a couple of irritating hits from each album. Shuttered Room offers "Red Skies" and "Stand or Fall"; Reach the Beach contains "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Saved by Zero"; Phantoms has "Are We Ourselves?" Showing remarkable consistency, they are all equally unpleasant and trivial. (Not too surprisingly, the Fixx's American success has been met by nearly total UK indifference.)

React, a "greatest hits live" package, contains performances, recorded at two late-1986 Canadian shows, of every one of those songs, plus three especially wretched new studio cuts. One Thing Leads to Another also includes the original versions of those memorable tunes (except that "Stand or Fall" is live) and more, several in alternate mixes. The rock-oriented Calm Animals, the Fixx's first album for a new label, has no songs worth mentioning.

Returning to its former corporate home after a three-year recording hiatus, the Fixx raised guitar's role on Ink, managing a fair INXS impression in spots but otherwise doing what the group has always done with no significant evidence of either fatigue or imagination.

Surprisingly, the Fixx popped up again in 1996.

[Ira Robbins]