PREMIERE: Fixtures – ‘Five Ft One, Six Ft Ten’: proper scruffy, shredding alt.guitar pop like they used to make

BROOKLYN five-piece Fixtures know how to do a ridiculously fun guitar pop rush. Really, they do.

They’ve just signed on the dotted with Spain’s Bobo Integral, and will be releasing their debut EP, Weak Automatic, for their new home in December. We’ve had a little listen, and another one, and another; and it really is a proper lofi sunshine pop thrill.

You don’t have to take my word for it: take a squizz at the video for lead track “Five Ft One, Six Ft Ten”, which we’re premiering here today. It’s proper carefree indie guitar abandon – and we mean indie as the excellent, scruffy stuff, not just any fella with a guitar giving it the well-groomed balladry. Fuck that. It bops, properly, like Drop Nineteens if they’d been in New York maybe circa ’78. Lovely.

They’ve put out a couple self-released tapes and trod the boards from NYC up and down the East Coast before nailing a half-dozen songs for the new EP at Black Dirt Studios with resident fadermeister, Jason Meagher, who summed up the new EP succinctly as “city songs”.

He ain’t wrong. Cut these guys and, like Television, the Velvets, The Strokes, they bleed the Big Apple. You can hear the city seeping through. From downtown Brooklyn with love.

The four-piece of singer-guitarist K. Liakos, bassist Jay McGuire, Alain Paradis (guitarist, vocalist and keys) and drummer Robin Fowler have just been joined by new member Jules Block to add her sax science.

Wait, just wait, until you hear the brilliant new wave thrash of “The Great Tequila Flood 2000-2018”, the second track on the EP: it makes “Five Ft One, Six Ft Ten” look like a slowie. You’ll be out there punching the air in your Docs or Hi-Tops or whatever your chosen brand, and they won’t touch the floor. It’s an absolutely holy collision of Television, Ramones, Dino Jr, The B-52’s, all kindsa the great stuff. It music to holler to from your car with a massive grin on a sunny evening.

Elsewhere on the EP you’ll find the deeply shredding downtempo “Sunshine”, which takes the J Mascis dirty solo playbook and adds a chapter or two; the bright singalong of “Jay’s Riff”, all fuzz bass and twin guitar breaks; “New Deal” just goes for your heart on a chariot of six-string dirt and pop melodies; hooks hooks hooks. Evan Dando and Julian Casablancas’ love child. “No One Calls Me Al” – a little snook cocked at Paul Simon, mebs? finishes the task at hand in a post-punky stew of overdrive and slide and cracked vocals.

But beneath that teenage riot pop power, you’ll find a band at watch on the streets of their home city. Singer K Liakos says: “There are lyrical allusions to the city in so much of our music. Stuff about the subway, street names, etc.

“I think NYC’s biggest influence on the lyrics of this record is all of the thinly veiled class warrior shit that snuck in there. Gross inequality is American but you can’t physically access every strata of it in one day like you can its biggest city.

“This year we’ve seen so many neighbors die in this pandemic and marched or biked with so many others out in the streets demanding justice for all black people and accountability from the police.

“It was written before all this, but ‘Five Ft One, Six Ft Ten’ is about all that. To me, anyway.”

If you’re seduced by American indie (and see above for our qualification of terms, we really mean indie) – anyone from Radial Spangle to Sonic Youth to Pavement to Pixies, a real sucker-punch melody dragged through blissful noise, cos … cos why the hell not indeed? You may just have found a whole new delicious crush to swoon to.

Fixtures’ Weak Automatic EP will be released by Bobo Integral on digital and cassette formats on December 4th; it’ll be available to pre-order at the label’s Bandcamp, here, from Friday.

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