More about: The 1975
"We've just come to represent the declining standards of what we accept," squawks Matt Healy on 'Love Me', the colossal banger that launched album No.2. It's a pretty meta statement, as the Manchester frontman eyes up fame in the social media age in a video that sees him grinding against cut-outs of Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.
He's a man fully-aware of the criticisms levelled against he and his bandmates' brand of foppish, OTT pop. But he's also savvy enough to find ways to allow substance to infiltrate his style. When they dropped 80s Bowie funk rock beast 'Love Me', the shimmering sheen of 'The Sound' and off-beat instant earworm 'Ugh!', many may have feared that The 1975 had abandoned the pop-noir melodrama that first found them fame.
The truth is, that these cuts act as a trojan horse to unload an album filled with nuances and idiosyncrasies. I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It is more than pop.
Opener 'The 1975' is a cinematic and choral-led snippet, and a mini-epic foreboding of all that's to follow. 'A Change Of Heart' gently bubbles along with a pocket-computer electro charm, calling to mind the more subtle moments of LCD Soundsystem or tender 80s radio ballads by the likes of The Cars, before 'She's American' smacks with a latter day Genesis-sized scale of arena-ready pop, as Healy deftly wraps his tongue around the pitfalls of the romance that come with falling in love Stateside: "don't fall in love with the moment, she's said I've got a lot to learn."
As you may have gathered already from the bands referenced, this is a record loaded with fist-clenching stadium poise.
'If I Believe You' is a minimal moment that picks up the mantle first explored by the experimentalism of their debut's 'Menswear', but taking it down a much more colourful landscape, one that looks over the slick R&B of Prince's slow jams while at his most sultry but soulful. 'Please Be Naked' also makes for a more esoteric gem - a cinematic, blissed-out piano ballad instrumental that would lend itself well to a soundtrack - before 'Lostmyhead' sees Healy's aching vocal simmer just above a thick layer of shoegaze and Bowie Berlin Trilogy atmospherics, taking a surprising left-turn towards a Mogwai, post-rock climax.
The miasma of space-age sounds floats on into 'The Ballad Of Me And My Brain', with the haze piercing howl of 'I think I've gone mad' and wistful lyrics of kitchen sink melodrama, while 'Somebody Else' is a subtly electro take on funky neo-soul and the synth-pop rave of the title track is probably the biggest departure on the record.
Add it all up, and the eclecticism of this band is nothing short of remarkable. I Like It When You Sleep is a record that owes as much to M83 as it does Madonna. In a world of beige pop, we welcome this flourish of colour. Exceeding the national average, excelling in pop and smashing your expectations - accept nothing less from The 1975.
The 1975, who are gearing up to release their difficult (to pronounce) second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It on 26 February, are also hitting the road next week. Their full list of upcoming tour dates are as follows. For tickets and more information, visit here.
The 1975 will play:
Fri March 04 2016 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat March 05 2016 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Mon March 07 2016 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Tue March 08 2016 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed March 09 2016 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat March 12 2016 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sun March 13 2016 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Mon March 14 2016 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Tue March 15 2016 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Thu March 17 2016 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Fri March 18 2016 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Sat March 19 2016 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Sun March 20 2016 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Tue March 22 2016 - BIRMINGHAM Barclaycard Arena
Thu March 24 2016 - DUBLIN 3Arena
More about: The 1975