The 1975's achingly personal and deeply autobiographical self-titled debut album is due for release early next month on 2 September.
The band have already had a few different incarnations, including Talkhouse and BigSleep, but have seen their popularity soar as The 1975.
Their upbeat, electro pop-rock sound, coupled with personal lyrical meaning has already won them fans all over the country. Songs like ‘The City’ from their Facedown EP, and ‘Chocolate’ from 2013’s Music For Cars EP have showcased what they can do and who they are from the get-go.
But can their self-titled debut live up to the hype? We take a listen and find out…
A self-titled song, for a self-titled album. This intro track sets the tone for what’s to come on the album. Fading in with robotic (in a good, Daft Punk sort of way) harmonies and rising dramatically to a crescendo until it cuts out so sharply you end up pressing 'forward' repeatedly to see what comes next.
A song that encapsulates the hallmark The 1975 style with an infectious beat, happy tune and heavy drums. The chorus is anthemic and just made for crowd sing-a-longs with its single, flippant line ‘If you wanna find love you know where the city is.’ Bang - we're hooked.
Comprising more of the favoured robotic-style harmonies, the track has a syncopated rhythm and eventually develops into a cool R’n’B style groove. It sounds like Prince in space. Awesome.
Already a radio favourite, this track is most likely the song by which most of us know the band. Unbelievably catchy guitar hooks and a clap-along beats belie dark subject matter of a drug-addled, crime-fuelled youth. Matthew Healy’s yodelling vocals and crystal clear tone have had us hitting the repeat button for months on this one.
The track certainly lives up to its name; exploring themes of lust and infidelity, coupling that with powerful, coarse guitar lines and drum-fuelled goodness. It deserves a massive stadium to really do it justice. It has an almost Band of Horses-style feel, and Matthew Healy’s soaring vocals are reminiscent of Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill.
The busy, almost unpredictable rhythm which opens the track is confusing at first but eventually settles down and becomes a slick, slower-paced groove. Bassist Ross McDonald is showcased in this groove-led track, grounding it, while Healy implores us (or, you know, society) to shut up, yelling “Why you talk so loud?”
A short, minute-long instrumental interlude that is ethereal and floats above us, on another plane of reality somewhere. Trippy but no less musically individual than the other tracks.
This song has something for everyone. Sounding a little like French pop collective College – there’s synth, sax and a ton of 80s electro pop vibe – with elements of Eurythmics and even a little bit of Fleetwood Mac decoration thrown in. The chorus is anthemic and harmony-filled - something The 1975 have mastered with ease.
Written about Healy’s obsession with Michael Jackson, the track does bear some loose resemblance to Jackson songs like ‘P.Y.T’ and ‘Rock With You’. The happy guitar hook and trademark drum beat will have heads nodding immediately. The album’s ninth track is a catchy fusion of 80s nostalgia and modern synth accents. The sensual ditty speaks of relationships; the unadvised and addictive.
A calmer, sexier offering from the band, really the first of its kind on the album. Heavy reverb and harmony on the vocals reinforce the dark and deeply personal lyrics, further emphasised by Healy’s emotional, soaring voice. A definite favourite.
The Prince-influence on the band is showcased in this track’s guitar motif from the get-go, in a riff that could have easily been an outtake from ‘Kiss’. The track embodies a devil-may-care attitude, gift-wrapped in their signature upbeat style and set to be the single to follow 'Sex'.
Another simple, short interlude that brings us back down to earth after the colourful pop injection from the previous track.
'She Way Out'
Arguably the track that has the least ability to pique someone’s interest, it’s still by no means a bad tune. In the style of most of the band’s offerings, ‘She Way Out’ is a little repetitive, but in a less brilliant way. It’s perhaps more of an end of the night track, it’s not “way out”, but a little off – especially considering the ridiculously high standard of the rest of the album.
A cool, synth-y intro, much more modern R’n’B than the other tracks with tantalising snippets of auto-tuned vocals, ‘Menswear’ bursts into life almost two minutes into the song. It has a Toto style beat, and could be an infinitely cooler version of ‘The Safety Dance’
Similar in style and rhythm to ‘Chocolate’ but more laid back and less in-your-face than its counterpart; the track is just as likeable. Jazzy guitar and a more sedate vocal performance from Matt Healy lend the track to becoming the perfect companion to a lazy afternoon in the sun.
'Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You'
The final track of The 1975’s epic album offers us something completely, utterly different to anything we’ve heard from them so far. A soft, contemplative piano ballad that is solemn, bare and vulnerably beautiful. The chord progressions tug at the heartstrings like a plectrum to a guitar. Spine-tingling.
For us, it’s one of the most impressive debut albums of 2013. Each track is unwaveringly good. The fact that the band have been playing together since school is evident in the musical cohesion and skill that comes through on both the tracks and their live performances.
The blend of 80s funk and pop mixed with indie rock results in a warm, original sound reminiscent of Talking Heads, a bit of Simple Minds and The Big Pink. Rhythms are consistently infectious - tapping feet and nodding heads abound, but similarly the band isn’t afraid to dabble in other genres and styles, feeling out their sound for albums to come.
There is a definite identity running throughout the album, whether it’s exploring the frivolities and mistakes of youth, or on a more face-value level with their musical approach. It will be interesting to see how they evolve and progress on forthcoming releases, but for now – The 1975's debut album is quite likely the best indie-pop record of the year.