Fiat Lux: Saved Symmetry
8 March 2019
Synth pop duo release first new album in thirty-five years. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
For fans of 80s pop Fiat Lux may not be a name you remember however, they were one of the great lost bands of the era. Tickling the charts at number 65 with a quite brilliant single Secrets in 1984 after signing to major label Polydor they failed to break into the mainstream despite the follow-up single Blue Emotion rising nine placed higher. With Secrets, Steve Wright (vocals) and David P Crickmore created one of the most criminally underrated singles of the decade.
Forward wind thirty-five years and the duo are back after the release of Secrets 2017 a couple of years ago. Along with a further ten new tracks, Saved Symmetry sees them effortlessly recreate their sound via analogue synths and a wonderful gnarling bass sound that characterised their early material.
As drama students in Wakefield, Wright and Crickmore met the legendary Bill Nelson (Be-Bop Deluxe) who produced earlier material released via his own label, Cocteau Records. Nelson’s younger brother the late Ian, added some quite beautiful saxophone and clarinet breaks which lifted their sound away from the normalised pop of the era.
Sounding like an electro mix of another sadly ignored band The Big Dish, Fiat Lux offer up uncomplicated mature pop that is easy on the ear and pleasant to the soul. Nothing earth shattering but something to hold on to in a time of over commercialised manufacturing dirge.
Album opener Tuesday, lures you in. After giving the impression that it is merely an intro it develops via what sounds like field recorded wind (maybe from the Atom Panoptican at Laneshawbridge near Colne in Lancashire featured on the cover artwork) to a fully blown declaration of love. Wright’s soothing vocals providing calm and beauty with comparisons to the late great Colin Vearncombe (Black), as the track gently unfolds.
Recent single Everyday In Heaven ups the tempo but once more confirms the duo’s songwriting prowess in being able to write tracks that will grow and grow. The chorus is again uplifting and well-planned. Will Howard provides some gorgeous clarinet throughout the album, none more so than on Grey Unpainted Rooms which once more harks back to Black’s Sweetest Smile.
As a bonus track, Secrets closes the album. It remains a superb track and one which the duo seem quite rightly, unprepared to give up on, even after three and a half decades it sounds beautiful and deserves to grace every radio station and set of earphones the length and breadth of the country.
Saved Symmetry is an affectionate reminder on one of many lost groups from the 80s. Fiat Lux deserved so much more and were probably victims of unsupportive record labels and greed. Check it out and you may be pleasantly surprised.
All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.