Fixed Idea – Traditions of My Addictions (CD)

Hey, this is slightly different than most of the fare from Broken Bonez Records. This time, listeners are treated to a bouncy, punky brand of ska that hasn’t been heard in popular music since The Spitvalves cut their last disc for Victory. Mix in some Bad Religion-esque riffs and Fixed Idea’s form starts to coalesce. Some of the instrumental interludes found on the disc (during Tomorrow, for example) begin to grate on listeners’ ears purely because there is a lack of innovation and experimentation present that the vocals tend to cover. Now, Fixed Idea’s opening to “The Rain Song” skillfully sidesteps this repletion problem, and uses a nice dual-harmony to push the track further. “Rude Boy” incorporates an off-the-cuff flow that continues throughout the disc and creates yet another strong suit for the band. Instead of just jamming one style down the throats of their listeners for the entirety of the disc (as fellow label-mates Ambivalence and D.E.K. do, albeit incredibly successfully), each track on “Traditions of My Addictions” show Fixed Idea working with only one rule – that ska will be in someway present on the disc.

Pushing into the drunk-rock, Flogging Molly-type of atmosphere with “The Drinking Song”, Fixed Idea make it their own song with an omni-present bass line (lied down by Jamie Jingles). The track is fairly straight-forward, with a Billie Joe Armstrong-inflection to the vocals on the track and some of the most unadorned guitar work heard on this disc. Moving into the realm that normally only University bands tread with “La Bomba”, Fixed Idea treads dangerously close to the issue with repetition that they have been grappling with all disc. Finishing up “Traditions” with “At the Side of the Park”, a track that doesn’t feel as if it is ending a disc, Fixed Idea leave listeners baffled – should there be more? What is left to accomplish for the band?

Fixed Idea is a ska band among a lot of punk bands, and it takes some intestinal fortitude to go outside the box when all the other individuals are going one way. Fixed Idea needs to tighten up their music just a little and perhaps try to vary up their arrangements. Overall, when one compares the average fare put out by a ska band with “Traditions”, “Traditions” wins out on soul and catchiness of tracks. As soon as Fixed Idea tightens up, no one will be able to stop them.

Top Tracks: Maryjane, The Drinking Song

Rating: 6.1/10

Fixed Idea – Traditions of My Addictions / 2004 Broken Bonez / 9 Tracks / / Reviewed 24 January 2005

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