The 1975

The 1975

Written by: TL on 15/09/2013 15:01:54

Whoever has been managing PR for Manchester quartet The 1975 clearly deserves a medal. If you go more than a year back, the band had no presence in the media, online or otherwise, whatsoever, yet these days writers from all corners of the internet are tripping over each other to sing the band's praises. Even if you haven't read a word about them yet, their hit single "Chocolate" has seen such widespread rotation on radio and music television that it must almost certainly have snuck its way into your ear once or twice, and conversely, if you are in the know, then you're probably aware of the Album Of The Year considerations debut full length "The 1975" has been submitted to around various corners of the three w's. The only looming question clearly is: Is it worth it?

As has been revealed by singer/guitarist Matt Healy, "The 1975" is an album that's been five years in the making, coming together gradually even before the band had actually settled on this name (having previously played together as Talkhouse, The Slowdown, Bigsleep and Drive Like I Do), yet with the releases of four preceeding EP's, the band got introduced smartly to the world via the success of singles "Chocolate" and "Sex", which showcase polar ends of the band's range of style: "Sex" being an up-beat, sentimental, stadium-sized Kings Of Leon-type rocker, while "Chocolate" is a funkier, poppier and more summery offering.

Common for the two however, is that they're catchier than the plague - to the point where critics have already voiced issues with the latter, more in response to it being over-played than because anything is actually wrong with the song, which I personally find amusing, considering the otherwise overwhelming praise being heaped on the rest of an album, which mostly sounds more like "Chocolate" than it does like "Sex". The main course then, are funky, mid-tempo cuts of extremely elegant production, with melodies that feel like rays of sun penetrating curtains and hitting the naked skin of somebody you're not quite sure how you feel about yet - A metaphor not exactly uninspired by the Healy's lyrics and singing, which persistently invokes the simultaneous feeling of excited butterflies in your stomach and paralyzing anxiety over whether things are headed where you want them at the speed you want.

This contrast - excitement and anxiety - is what the band consistently invokes across an ambitious sixteen tracks, hailing film maker John Hughes and 80s pop greats like Prince and Peter Gabriel as inspirations in a unique soundscape that is as wide-reachingly cool and modern as their black and white imagery, yet as summery and retro as say, Hall And Oates' resurrected classic "You Make My Dreams". What's doubly remarkable however, is how clearly the band sees their own work, having expressed that they feel that it "is lead track after lead track, with all the alternative moments captured in an accessible way.". Because truly, I could not put it much better myself, with each subsequent song rolling off the tracklist either catchy or catchier, yet all having another delicate nuance to offer.

Personally I'm a sucker for the College-ish keys that open "Heart Out"; the bass tones that reverberate heavily against the hook of "The City" and the lyrics of "Girls" which muse "one minute I was tearing off your blouse, now you're living in my house, what happened to just messing 'round?", but really you could just as well fall in love with other standouts like "M.O.N.E.Y.", "Talk!" or "Robbers" - The main quality that needs emphasis is merely that the album never feels sixteen tracks long, because each new moment of it is so consistently appealing. Moreover, the band seems completely aware of this, saving the most obvious curveball in form of the strikingly organic piano-ballad "Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You" until the very end, seemingly saying "Oh yeah, we can do this too, just wait and see 'til the next record".

If that's the intention however, The 1975 are writing themselves an almost impossibly tall order for the future, because their debut is an album it is extremely difficult to say something critical about. Here we have an actual band, playing and writing on real instruments, while also clearly mindful of the intricacies of a tasteful, state-of-the-art production, creating music that takes the very best sources of influence in the past decades of pop-music seriously. And their first attempt is a collection of back-to-back single-worthy tracks you say? Sounds to me like one of those rare occasions when the hype is actually justified.


Download: Sex, Cholocate, Girls, Heart Out, The City
For The Fans Of: Bastille, Kings Of Leon, Phoenix, Walk The Moon

Release Date 02.09.2013
Dirty Hit / Polydor

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