COMMUNICATE HOPE & EMPATHY TO ALL WHO LISTEN

Cy Curnin has made a career as town crier in the global village. His observational songs have sometimes been prompted by concern or cloaked in fear. Just as often, they’re infused with the urgency to communicate hope and empathy to all who listen, with the aim of mobilizing and dispersing the message from that base. The Cold War demons that motivated Fixx classics like “Stand or Fall” and “Red Skies at Night” have resurfaced in tension between North Korea and the United States. Xenophobia and racial division are evident in Brexit and Western anti-immigration policies. Although he wishes it were not so, it seems there is still urgent need for Curnin’s clarion calls to practice deliberate acts of love and reason. “It’s a continuation of the same thing,” says Curnin. “‘All I need is a small war,’ said Henry IV. It’s good for business.”

Curnin’s work with The Fixx is marked by bracing anthems and winsome melody, picking up threads from New Romantic influences like Roxy Music and adventurous artists including David Bowie. Curnin’s own fresh material delves instead into the singer-songwriter tradition of standard-bearers like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. “They were able to seize the power of the word, and penetrate consciousness through the conduit of music – sublimely,” says Curnin. “You didn’t realize you were getting a huge pill with the sugar.”

Through steady use, Curnin’s singing voice remains vigorous and finely tuned. The firebrand who sang the strident “One Thing Leads to Another” on 1982’s “Reach the Beach” was easily recognized in floor-shaking tracks like “Shaman” from The Fixx’s 2012 offering “Beautiful Friction,” and his subtle command remained evident in the elegant title track. Those qualities are thrown further into relief on new tracks like “Superseded.”

Through 2018, Curnin will release a series of EPs to be collected onto an album in the fall. “The moods will vary from one to the next, but they’ll be focused on pure expression – not too much trickery,” says Curnin. “There’s anger, acceptance, a personal love story, and blissful madness. The first EP will be just voice and piano, very stark. The next will probably involve guitar, then possibly an ambient set. The distinct personalities will ultimately come together.” Curnin also plans a fall solo tour, following his regular summertime work with The Fixx.

Thus far, the songs are unsettled, midnight heart-to-hearts between confidants. During “Was There Any Point at All,” Curnin turns his gaze inward and works through the shadows of self-doubt he encounters. “Everything I do seems inconsequential,” howls the man who has followed his muse around the world and up the charts. What words of comfort or wisdom will you have to offer to the conversation? “Sometimes you think you’re singing into a void,” says Curnin. “I love the idea of reaching into the audience and drawing them inward. I want to facilitate that, for my edification as much as theirs.”

“Sometimes, there’s a high period in your life where you get on top of it all, with really good perspective,” says Curnin. “Other times, there’s the winter that takes you down into the darkness where you rage and vent. I wouldn’t want to be known as a negative person, but I think this mood is relatable for a lot of people at the moment. Working through it is cathartic and useful. You sing the despair and reflect upon it, and then develop a plan of corrective action.”

On “Salad Days,” Curnin bypasses the weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. He laments mindfulness “lost in the noise” during an age that meanders through madness, and asks a question that ripples through his life’s work – “Are we running out of time?” Ultimately, he’s unequivocal. “The salad days are gone,” he sings. “The Great Western Way has started to seed out,” he says. “It’s not necessarily over, but it feels like the end of an era. Capitalism was a really good system, in my opinion, when everybody had a chance to benefit. Now, it’s overcome by greed. People forget that it’s the roots that hold the tree up, not the fruit.”

Even in the face of such troubles, Curnin maintains his characteristic optimism. “There’s definitely hope in change,” he says. “I feel very encouraged when I look at anyone under 35. They’ve been in the shadows of the landfills of success. They’re generally much more tolerant to each other, and don’t see the world in terms of borders. The thinking young mass is now preparing for a whole new way of doing it, and I think they’ll do it right. Hope lives in the unknown.”