The 1975 - The 1975 (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE 1975 are one of the buzz bands of the moment – and deservedly so. They’ve been working hard, releasing EPs and singles as well as touring extensively, to raise expectation ahead of their debut album, aptly named The 1975.
The result is a 16-track collection of songs that, in the Manchester art-pop quartet’s own words, offers up “the soundtrack to our formative years… the culmination of our adolescence and the cornerstone of our material thus far”.
That is to say, there’s a little bit of everything that has appeared to influence them along the way, whether it’s ’80s soundtrack fillers, power-pop ballads, gutsy blasts of indie pop, alt-rock explosions and the occasional dreamy interlude.
Admittedly, there are times when the album carries the burden of being a breakthrough offering. Some tracks sound the same.
But there’s an enthusiasm about the delivery throughout that’s infectious, while there’s just about enough diversity stretched across the course of the LP to make this debut well worth shouting about.
And that sountrack feeling is evident throughout, too, as by the boy’s own admission (in a recent interview with The Guardian), they’re fans of John Hughes and the type of Brat Pack movies that always had a cool soundtrack moment behind them.
Hence, The City is an early track (and former single) that’s brash and vibrant, opening amid crashing drums and then dropping in the kind of track that followers of acts like Placebo or even Fall Out Boy might appreciate. There’s a catchy guitar hook, a big chorus and an overall sense of grandness that’s invigorating.
Evidence of their diversity is then found on M.O.N.E.Y, which could almost spring from a Prince concoction, while Chocolate is a breeze of a song – cute indie pop hooks abound with an infectious, catchy quality that infests from the outset.
Another single, Sex, follows, which drops a chant-worthy chorus (“she’s got a boyfriend anyway”) and an incessantly vigorous vibe. But while it’s been a big hit for them, it’s far from one of the standout tracks.
Talk!, on the other hand, is… emerging like an indie-rock version of a Peter Gabriel track like Sledgehammer or Steam (the vocals are especially reminiscent of Gabriel over the chorus).
There are moments that conform to cheesy elements that the band would do well to avoid going forward. Heart Out is pure ’80s synth-pop and sounds dated (albeit with an accurate ’80s soundtrack vibe), while Settle Down also threatens to fall into the same category.
Indeed, it’s around that point that the album threatens to become a little stale and a little too ’80s fixated.
But then Girls arrives to give things a welcome shot in the arm (combining instantly likeable hooks with a vibe that feels ripped right out of a Cindy Lauper record), while a couple more tracks down the light there’s a moment of soulful neon cool with Menswear, which is slick, sexy and a real departure.
It’s followed by the equally impressive Pressure, a boy band moment if you will… but one that blows the likes of One Direction and The Wanted away by virtue of its element of danger, as well as playfulness with some ’80s leaning sax.
Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You then rounds off the LP on a note of real darkness – plus slows things down completely for a ballad. It’s a smart move, forcing the listener to re-evaluate what they think they thought they knew about The 1975 and what they had to offer.
All told, then, this deserves to become the hit it will surely be and launch this endearing band into super-stardom on both sides of the Atlantic.
Download picks: The City, M.O.N.E.Y, Chocolate, Talk!, Girls, Menswear, Pressure