The 1975 – The 1975
by Colin Bugler
The Band By now, we’re pretty sure that if you haven’t heard of The 1975, you will at least have heard their music. Following support slots for Muse and The Rolling Stones over the summer, as well as appearances on the Reading/Leeds Festival Republic stage and extensive radio plays from the likes of Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe, The 1975 have been one of the most hotly tipped emerging bands of 2012⁄13. The quartet formed near Manchester in the early 00s, playing in local clubs, but not under the name of The 1975 until the gigs preceding the release of their first EP in 2012. Front-man Matthew Healy allegedly found the name scribbled in the back pages of a book of beat poetry, and The 1975 was born.
The four EPs released by the band up to this point: Facedown, Sex, Music For Cars and IV - all have been worthy of a listen, particularly the singles; The City, Chocolate and Sex, all of which appear on the album.
The Album The Manchester quartet’s debut record opens with self-titled, orchestral track The 1975, which lays out the album’s 80s feel, incorporating heavy synths and layered vocal harmonies reminiscent of Phil Collins and Genesis. Track two, an already-established hit, The City, carries forward the sonic allusion, opening with an expansive pattern from drummer George Daniel and socially perceptive lyrics from Healy, who delivers a catchy chorus against a backdrop of messy nights, disillusionment, alcohol and love gone wrong. Listening to the song, it’s hard to miss the growing sense of irony with Healy repeating, “If you wanna find love then you know where the City is.”
Of the new songs, track three, M.O.N.E.Y, is a standout – combining the laid-back harmonies and 80s elements with contemporary hip-hop inspired beats. The production is reminiscent of Xaphoon Jones or Toro Y Moi’s latest work, and sees the band incorporating a wide variety of effects and sounds – there’s guitar in there somewhere, fading in and out among an array of synths, which seems a little disorienting at first. Nevertheless, you’ll be nodding along to the bass and taking in Healy’s vocals, which alternate between the dreamy repetition of the title line and witty rapped verses.
I’m searching you mate, you jaw’s all over the place Can’t talk, quick slap in the face. Yes I threw a nut but your friends a case Why you singling him out is it because of his race?
Following on, Chocolate and a reworked album version of Sex, the band’s previous hits, are undoubtedly very solid alt-rock songs, with guitarist Adam Hann contributing one of the catchiest riffs of the album on Chocolate. Heart Out is straight from the 80s with a hefty dose of synth-pop – a great song in itself, but not possessing the same lyrical depth that The 1975 are clearly capable of. Of the remainder, my top pick would be She Way Out, which I can’t really recommend highly enough. All in all, it seems The 1975 have lived up to the level of expectations surrounding their debut. Highly recommended, but if you’re not up for buying the album, at least check out the band’s latest EP, IV.