The 1975 is a band from England comprised of four men—and that is about the only thing common about them. From not-so-subtle drug references to album titles that most major labels would have a heart attack over, nothing about the 1975 is conventional.
In a world of conventionality and pseudo-unconventionality, however, the band manages to be one of the most refreshing acts in the industry right now. Their latest effort, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, only further establishes the group as musical giants.
On their third studio album, the 1975 manages to tackle more genres than most artists will in their entire careers. Trying to sum up the band’s sound is practically useless at this point. Just when you think pop is appropriate, they drop a jazz track. They’re certainly not a jazz band, proven by their extensive rock catalog—it seems that they’re always one step ahead.
“The 1975,” the track that opens each of the group’s albums, finds itself as a vocoder-heavy piano track on A Brief Inquiry. My dear friend vocoder is also in full-effect on “How To Draw / Petrichor,” a floaty, dreamy instrumental that makes a harsh transition into an overtly electrical piece.
In general, the tracks released prior to the album drop remain the strongest. “Sincerity Is Scary” is an uncharacteristically jazzy number; though, as previously mentioned, nothing seems to be uncharacteristic for the 1975. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You),” a lyrically-untouchable love song to addiction, is one of the band’s strongest tracks to date.
“Love It If We Made It,” is the modern-day “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” complete with cultural references to Kanye West and Lil Peep, rounded up with the chilling line: “modernity has failed us.”
At some points, the album sounds more like a film score than anything. “The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme” is the best example of this. A computer-generated voice recounts the story of a man who married a robot, followed by an orchestral arrangement seemingly torn straight from a Disney princess movie.
Matty Healy, the bands’ front man, shines on slower tracks like “Mine” and “Be My Mistake,” the former of which would seem almost too natural playing softly over the speakers of any Italian restaurant—this band’s reach is unmatchable.
For most of the record, the group draws inspiration from the past. “Give Yourself A Try” is an ode to UK garage, while “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” gives off such an early 2000s soft-pop vibe that you may actually feel yourself sitting in the theater for an Amanda Bynes movie—though I don’t know of any where this specific material would work, plot-wise.
The greatest of these, and off the whole album, is “I Couldn’t Be More In Love.” It’s a Phil Collins-esque ballad where all the stakes are pulled out—deep synth intro, tantalizingly slow drum beat, choral background and even a mellow guitar solo. The result is a song that could very well be remembered for decades to come.
All things considered, the 1975 may not be the biggest band in the world right now, but they are undoubtedly the most exciting. With their fourth studio album set for release next year, the 1975 are a force that shows no sign of stopping.