To a casual observer, The 1975 emerged out of nowhere as a fully formed funky pop band in 2012 with slick songs destined for stadium crowds. It wasn’t long until support slots with Muse and The Rolling Stones, and top 20 single ‘Chocolate’, reinforced this misapprehension.
In truth though, despite being early-20-year-old pin-ups, the band is actually comprised of near-veterans who’ve been playing under different guises for the past decade. You could even say this album almost rivals Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’ for the amount of years spent in a state of gestation.
Unlike Axl’s expensive mess, though, this set doesn’t fail to impress. It’s a diverse record unafraid to challenge pop music perceptions.
Second track ‘The City’ sets an early marker by blending big-beat drums, a pulsing synth, and tweaking guitars with frontman Matthew Healy’s falsetto vocals. ‘M.O.N.E.Y.’ then pushes things further with a softly intercutting electronic intro akin to Gold Panda’s ‘Vanilla Minus’, but reveals itself to be a glitchy pop track.
Other highlights? ‘Settle Down’ is a lilting soft-rock moment similar to Bombay Bicycle Club’s ‘Shuffle’, and ‘Heart Out’ impresses with daringly abrasive looping keys, warm vocal harmonics and a sax solo.
It’s a great pop record with plenty of depth (a rare thing) that will prove divisive. Some will dismiss this band in one listen (or none) as the next Owl City, but with years of playing together already, plenty of fans, and lots of songs ready to go, The 1975 will be one overnight success that’ll outlive the critics.
Words: Simon Butcher
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Read Clash's Ones To Watch article on The 1975 here.
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