Release Date: May 21, 2012
Record label: Mercury
After a couple of years of generating excitement with a series of EPs and singles, Fixers have emerged with an album that can be bracketed with Django Django's debut as proof that psychedelia need not be an exercise in retro genre pastiche. Fixers' role model is the Brian Wilson of the late 60s, but unlike most Wilson fetishists, they realise his greatness lay not just in lush, layered harmonies, but in marrying avant-garde impulses to commercial pop. And so Pink Light, with its sequenced keyboards and 4/4 beat, barrels along in Radio 1-friendly fashion, and Crystals puts a near-Hi NRG pulse at its centre.
The world may not need any more dream-pop exponents but Oxford five-piece Fixers are too ravishing to ignore. Fittingly, for a band who come from the Thames Valley, their debut album references not just the usual acts (Animal Collective, Panda Bear, MGMT) but 90s shoegazing outfits such as Ride, the region's cherubic answer to My Bloody Valentine. Groundbreaking they are not, then, but that matters not a jot when, as on Majesties Ranch and Iron Deer Dream, they use handclaps and harmonies to wonderful effect, imbuing psychedelia with a youthful glow.
Having reeled off a list of eclectic influences ranging from Brian Wilson to the Cocteau Twins to '90s dance music, Oxford psychedelic pop quintet Fixers could be seen as just another band trying to sound more intriguing than they actually are. But as their debut album, We'll Be the Moon, proves, their claims of being inspired by such a diverse array of artists isn't just hollow talk. There are sun-kissed Beach Boys harmonies alongside the squalling guitars and pounding indie rock beats of the grandiose "Crystals"; "Majesties" combines the reverb-drenched dream pop of Liz Fraser and company with the raucous Southern rock of Kings of Leon; while the surging indie disco of "Iron Deer Dream" contains a piano riff plucked straight from the Italo house rulebook.
On paper, Fixers’ debut album should be a perfect 10; the lynchpins of the Oxford Blessing Force scene have a love of Animal Collective and Brian Wilson that could be a perfect mix. But the result? At its best, the Foster The People-ish ‘Floating Up’ and ‘Iron Deer Dream’, where post-chillwave bubbles and synth tweaks give way to glorious Friendly Fires-lite choruses. The only problem is they always just come up short when trying to make their own version of FTP’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’.