Intense "art pop" from an important band.
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As an album, this merits four stars (a full five-star rating being reserved for The Fixx's unparalleled masterpiece, 1984's haunting *Phantoms*). Few bands have combined this kind of psychological and political lyricism with music of equal weight and beauty. Cy Curnin, an emotive singer and challenging wordsmith, is backed by a quirky and inventive guitarist, a fluent and imaginative synth player, and a top-notch rhythm section. The Fixx was much more a proper "band" than many synth-oriented '80s acts -- no doubt one of the reasons it's still making records today. A strong anti-war theme pervades *Shuttered Room*, and several of the cuts -- in particular "Stand or Fall," "Red Skies," and the title track -- take on new meaning in light of the recent strife in the Balkans.As a reissue, this gets three stars, down from four for two reasons. The first: adding "The Sinking Island" but leaving off "Time in a Glass," the inclusion of which would have allowed listeners to sequence the album as it appeared in the U.S. or as it first appeared in the U.K. The second reason: sub-par sound. While much better than the original CD issue by MCA, this release sounds thin and overly bright (relative to the fine-sounding U.S. and British LPs).An extended version of the hit "Stand or Fall" is also included."
New wave from the 80's!
Aaron Blight | Westminster, Maryland United States | 09/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There was a time when The Fixx was one of my favorite bands, and Shuttered Room was my favorite Fixx album. I recently bought this album for the second time since we now benefit from today's marvelous sound of digital compact disc. A lesser-known album from a distinctively new wave band, Shuttered Room contains many interesting musical arrangements and fun lyrics and rhythms. The songs that stand out for me are "The Strain," "Lost Planes," "I Live," "Red Skies," "The Fool," and the minor hit "Stand or Fall." It amazes me that it's been 20 years since the release of this album. Listening today, Shuttered Room retains the diacritical new wave sound from two decades past, but the music (especially the songs listed above) is still just as infectious as it used to be."
A likeable album
sauerkraut | 08/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Shuttered Room--released in 1982--is the debut album from the Fixx. Along with the ten original tracks, there are two bonus tracks: "Sinking Island" and "Stand or Fall" (Extended Mix). The album's material is in a pop rock musical direction. The songwriting is good, the musicianship is tight, and the sound quality is pleasing. I enjoy Cy Curnin's distinctive vocals. I like Jamie West-Oram's guitar work and the keyboarding of Rupert Greenall. The songs I favor are "Stand or Fall," "Red Skies," and "I Live." The somber, well-written "Stand or Fall" starts off with an indelible, pretty two-note guitar melody from Oram; in addition, attractive singing from Curnin is supplied on the charming, unforgettable refrain. Both versions of "Stand or Fall" are worthy. The earnest, nicely crafted "Red Skies" exhibits a pleasing keyboard line from Greenall and dynamic vocals from Curnin--his vocal melody on the chorus is infectious; also, a new studio version of this composition is included on the Fixx's 1987 live album, React. The serious "I Live" features gratifying, industrious singing from Curnin during the refrain. The CD insert does not include the song lyrics but does sport a color photo of the band. The back of the CD jewel case also displays a black-and-white photo of the band. The disc is just over 48 minutes. Shuttered Room is a good piece of work, and it emits sophistication."