Watching Fixers midway through 2010 at the Oxford Punt, a showcase of the best bands Oxford has to offer across the whole city, was such a jolt to the system, it was a wonder they had maintained such a relatively low profile up until that point. Throwing together an obvious admiration for Animal Collective and 60’s psychedelia, most notably plundered from the work of Brian Wilson, it was a euphoric display of psychedelic-pop that almost certainly didn’t care if you could spot it’s influences a mile off as they reared their dazed-faces amongst the music like a meandering register for all things druggy.
Opinion on the whole was at the time divided; many felt the influences were too stark, a rehash, others, myself included, loved their exuberant approach to song-writing and the scope of sound, especially from a music-scene so overwhelmed by (often brilliant) folk and straight-up rock.
In my mind, Here Comes 2001 So Lets All Head For The Sun is Fixers’ first proper release; standalone singles ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Iron Deer Dream’ caught the attention of many a publication and were for many, a gateway-track into the colourful Blessing Force art-music collective, but this EP presents the sound Fixers have grown into, and it is a surprising departure from the organised-chaos of their 2010 Punt set.
Fixers have embraced their inner Beach Boy, grabbing their psychedelic tendencies by the horn and taking it further than expected, while leaving the could-have-been niggling Animal Collective comparisons a little further back in the mix.
Opener ‘Another Lost Apache’ begins with a beautiful a cappella passage that instantly reminds of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Sun It Rises’, before bursting with a beautiful and anarchic electro sound, all synths and treated bass drums. It is a fantastic start to an EP more than willing to throw off the casual listener, yes it’s bombastic but in comparison to earlier impressions of this band, ultimately reserved. The intention of ‘Another Lost Apache’, after the vocal intro at least, is clearly to rouse and grab any listener’s attention, the latter end of the EP unearths a little more depth however, and a curious recurring desire to wrong-foot its listener, and I’m not just talking about the unnerving Mike Love impression that runs throughout.
‘Uriel’ and EP closer ‘Passages // Love In Action’ are vivid, bright accounts of coming up and embracing the feeling as it envelopes your body. The sudden corners taken by the songs are during early listens, a little off-putting, but make sense a little more with every listen, and although the final, unruly chant of “We’re coming down!” that closes the EP is a downer itself, the effect it has on the song and all the music that has preceded it cannot be faltered.
Undoubtedly …Let’s All Head For The Sun has an anthem on its hands with the instant pop delight that is ‘Crystals’, a true gem of a track makes no apology for having a great time, the kind of song that will soon find itself on party mix tapes for the young and hip. A standout track, but one of four in an EP that, Mike Love impressions or not, will be enough to pull them out of even the best local scenes.