Picks and Pans Review: Phantoms

updated 10/08/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/08/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Fixx

Many groups in the vanguard of the British reinvasion operate with a clockwork heart, but not this quartet. The Fixx, made up of vocalist Cy Curnin, guitarist Jamie West-Oram, drummer Adam Woods and keyboardist Rupert Greenall, is the most melodic, resourceful and intriguing band to cross the big pond since the advent of the synthesizer. Just as their last album, Reach the Beach, became a disc jockey's grab bag, including such songs as One Thing Leads to Another and Saved by Zero, Phantoms contains enough palpable hits to settle the dueling scene in Hamlet. Are We Ourselves? has already made the charts; other likely candidates include the haunting love song I Will, the buoyant Lose Face, which recalls the Beatles of the Help! era, and Woman on a Train, a song with a hypnotic refrain. Phantoms, like the Fixx's previous two LPs, is graced by British producer Rupert Hine, a mix master. (Hine's own recent album, The Wildest Wish to Fly, is an uncelebrated tour de force.) Lyricist Curnin appears less involved with political issues than in the past and more into personal concerns such as alienation and the inability to communicate. What sets this record and this band apart, though, are melodies: The songs build strongly from the opening riffs, often taking unexpected turns, and they are embellished with catchy bridges. While most bands run the talent gamut from A to B, the Fixx is working with a full alphabet. (MCA)

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