Extremely (and unfathomably to people over 40) popular group the 1975 return with the thankfully shorter titled follow up to the one with the extremely long title. Who knew that when Tim Healey and Denise Welch got together this would be the result but there we are. That last LP reached number one on both sides of the little puddle we call the Atlantic ocean and interest is at fever pitch for this one.
Vinyl Double LP £24.49 6796448
Black vinyl 2LP on Polydor.
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Limited Vinyl Double LP £24.49 6796456
Limited edition white vinyl 2LP on Polydor.
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- Limited edition
CD £11.99 7700441
CD on Polydor.
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There's a moment in a person's life where you just have to admit that you are past it. It's nothing to be ashamed of. There's little worse than the hoards of middle aged people about trying to pretend they are still relevant. I miss the point of most music that is played in these offices by the under 25s - it all just sounds like a different variety of autotune and/or some kind of Madonna -lite froth pop.
So as an outsider, the first thing I notice about the new album from the 1975 is how blindingly commercial it is. From reviews I was expecting some kind of millennial friendly OK Computer but within the first few songs at least two songs are such frighteningly download chart friendly bits of fluff that i'm genuinely taken aback that this is what passes for 'serious' music for todays infants. I suppose what the reviews are getting at are pieces like How to Draw/Petrichor which is kind of scattered electronics turning into Bon Iver autotuned vocal manipulations. It's daring - to a degree. The first time the 1975 sound like a rock band and not some kind of Kanye West/Simon Cowell cross breed is on 'Love It If We Made It' which is a decent update on than anthemic Tears for Fears Sound and despite the constant lack of guitar clangs it sounds somewhat festival-ready.
I may be moaning about the lack of 'authentic' pop moves here but sadly when the 1975 start strumming they come up with something like 'Be My Mistake' an embarrassing navel gazing slab of acoustica that could have been strummed by any James Bay wannabee. I'm forced therefore to accept that the 1975 are better when paying homage to their love of dance music. Sincerity is Scary is a very good romp through late 90s r&b with a lovely lolloping beat and great twisting horns. Yet Surrounded by Heads and Bodies is also a surprisingly lovely thing summoning the ghost of Scritti Politti on a heartfelt ballad in which the band play with a straight bat, cleverly using flecks of electronica to pep up a sun dappled ballad. They do similar on the jazz influenced 'Mine' which is also a rather touching moment by a band that often seem far too studied to really stir at the emotions.
They've been accused of trying too hard - it's better to try too hard than to not try at all but this unfortunately means whims like The Man who Married a Robot which I can pretty much guarantee you'll never play again. The 1975 toy with excellence several times throughout this sprawl but it's intersected with some of the most ridiculous rubbish you've ever heard. Generally it's still too anodyne for anyone to grew up with experimental rock bands like Radiohead to fully get on board with but there are moments which truly surprise. Hip-hop and r&b weigh heavily on the production on an album which is neither as good as the mainstream media want to believe but is not worth dismissing totally by those of us who think we've heard it all before.
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