Sunday, August 21, 2016

104. The Fixx - Reach The Beach

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I sense a  certain unity  in the works of  George Underwood.  I see a silent purpose overlaying an urgent force of aimless experimentalism.
Looking at his works I find it very easy to be alone and very hard to quit smoking.

I have my own urge of aimless experimentalism too and it has taken me where I am now.  And I am not afraid of useless results. Such was
my drive in doing the work above, from the cover of Reach the Beach, an album by The Fixx.

George Underwood is described as a surrealist and visionary.  He was born in 1947 and joined Beckenham Art School in 1963. At art school
George became more and more  interested in music. As a result he pursued a career in the music world.  Along with life-long friend David
Bowie he made one record (The King Bees)  and also a solo record under the name Calvin James.

After deciding that the music business was not for him,  George returned to art studies and then worked in design studios as an illustrator.
Initially he  specialised in fantasy,  horror and science  fiction book covers.  Many of George Underwood's  colleagues in the music business
asked him to do various art works for them.  This led to George becoming a freelance artist.  Art work for the first T Rex album and later
David Bowie’s  Hunky Dory  and  Ziggy Stardust  album covers  established him  as a leading  and  creative  art illustrator.  Over this period
George produced literally hundreds of book covers, LP and CD covers, advertisements, portraits and drawings.

At the start  of the 1970’s  George Underwood  started  painting in oils.  His paintings  were  influenced  at first by the  Viennese School of
Fantastic  Realism  –  artists  which  included  Ernst Fuchs,  Rudolph  Hausner  and  Eric  Brauer.  George  regarded  them as  contemporary
visionaries like Bruegel and Bosch. He was fascinated by their imaginative visions., Biography, George Underwood

Images from Tutt' Art

I see a certain depth in the lack of expression on their sober faces.  Their taut  poses reveal an astute sense of elegance and balance. The
symmetry is well-explained and the geometry is well-fixed. More math may do more harm than good but (I think) this is not how it works
in the works of George Underwood. 

Image from Tutt' Art

Aimless experimentalism may not reach the beach.

This is, perhaps, the way to do it.

Artwork by George Underwood. Album produced by Rupert Hine. MCA 1983.

George Underwood  attended Bromley Technical School  where he developed  an interest in music  alongside classmates  David Bowie and
Peter Frampton. Underwood and Bowie's band, George and The Dragons was short-lived due to Underwood punching Bowie in the left eye
while wearing  a ring on  his finger,  during a  fight  over a girl,  causing  paralysis  in Bowie's left  pupil and his  distinctive  mismatched
appearance.  But the injury did not  affect their friendship in the end,  and Underwood went on to record one album with Bowie (in their
band The King Bees). wikipedia 

"George Underwood - The Artist and the Secret of Bowie's Eyes" from BhamUrbanNewsUK on YouTube.

Reach the Beach  is a significant step  forward  from the Fixx's debut album,  Shuttered Room,  simply because  the band can now craft
immediately accessible,  incessantly catchy pop/rock melodies.  "One Thing Leads to Another" has a big, ringing guitar hook hammered
home by the dance beat,  while  "Saved by Zero"  and "The Sign of Fire"  are cool,  robotic slices of synth pop.  Although the  rest of the
album isn't quite as  catchy as those three hits,  Reach the Beach  remains a pleasant collection  of immaculately produced and stylishly
danceable new wave. AllMusic review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

(A) One Thing Leads to Another - The Sign of Fire - Running - Saved by Zero - Opinions

(B) Reach the Beach - Changing - Liner - Privilege - Outside

"Saved by Zero" music video from TheFixxVEVO on YouTube.