Back in the Reagan years, pop acts with serious messages were more subtle -- which meant you could still have fun and enjoy the music. The Fixx, a British band that hit these shores in 1982, won fans with a smart New Wave sound in hits you could either dance to or think about (attempting to do both simultaneously was strongly discouraged). The Fixx's songwriters found just the right blend of electronic melodies, potent hooks and precise rhythms to make listeners sing along as they tapped their feet. The multi-ply lyrics were unobtrusive, buffering a warning line like "red skies at night" with "woh oh oh oh." Add in stylish keyboards, sharp rhythms and some hair gel, and you had a slick Fixx track that happened to discuss the hazards of war. "One Thing Leads to Another," the band's most popular song, reached Billboard's number-four slot twenty years ago and still litters '80s compilations today; it's not as ominous or political, but it's chock-full of those Cockney keyboards, striking riffs and a musical epoxy that make it stick in your head for ages. Decades, even. Stand or fall with the Fixx at the Gothic this Sunday, May 30.


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