The 1975
The 1975


3.0
good

Review

by Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (116 Reviews)
September 6th, 2013 | 166 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Hello Chattanooga! Are you ready to rock?"

Well this is fitting.

Here I am, knee deep in an album-by-album exploration of British rock, about midway through the 90s, and out comes an album featuring four expensive haircuts that have been playing together since primary school, thick Manchester accents, a little bouncy lad rock, loud as hell guitars, and sights set on an American breakthrough. I bet my editor didn’t even get through the first sentence of their biography before firing this album off to me. So after a few buzz building EPs and a top 20 UK single we have The 1975’s eponymous debut album, it must be the second coming of Britpop right?

Actually no.

The 1975 predominately features heart on sleeve emoting over booming percussion and loudly mixed synth. The whole thing is made with a serious emphasis on sleek and sharp production. Sure, there’s a bit of Coming Up era Suede and Oasis’ hooks-on-hooks in the mix but for the most part The 1975’s clearest influences would be new wave acts like Thompson Twins and Tears for Fears a.k.a. the exact kind of bands Britpop sought to destroy. There are multiple saxophone solos on this thing for god sakes.

My guess is that The 1975 are too clever to attempt a Britpop comeback right now. A track titled “Mensware” suggests they’re all too aware of what happens when Britpop bands get it wrong and recent events suggest the inevitable Britpop revival is still a few years off (You guys all remember Viva Brother right? Anyone? Yeah, exactly.)

What The 1975 does particularly well is pick up where The Big Pink left off and make absolutely shamelessly huge pop music. The way The 1975 just go for it, chorus after chorus after chorus, is their biggest strength. And on propulsive cuts like “The City” and “Heart Out” they wrap their fingers around something that could be a big deal. Lyrically, lead singer Matthew Healy looks to make a very generational statement with references to quasi-relationships, club drugs, Internet gossiping, and lots of heartsickness. “Pressure”, with its coolly airbrushed hook and wailing saxophone could have been the 3rd best song on Don Henley’s The End of the Innocence. “Now we’re on the bed in my room,” yelps Healy on “Sex”, “And I’m about to fill his shoes/But you SAY NO!” That song in particular develops such an unstoppable momentum that its car crash finale sounds like the only way it could have ended.

It’s invigorating stuff but if all The 1975 had was stadium smashers it would be exhausting. What fill the album out is the cuts that are pitched halfway between interlude-adventurous and full cut development. On “Talk!” all the elements are arranged around a catchy cry of “Why do you talk so loud?” while chiming guitar and staggered handclaps rotate around the mix. “M.O.N.E.Y.” gently rolls and surfaces its hook over an airy, electronic flecked backing beat.

For a debut album, there are surprisingly few missteps. “Robbers” takes its titular metaphor so over the top that when Healy wails “Now everybody’s DEAAAAAAD!” at its climax he might mean that literally. Elsewhere “Girls” is so sunny and upbeat that it’s kind of nauseating. The 1975 is also packed with so many different styles – 2 step, dance pop, post-punk, synth rock – that, while exciting, it doesn’t hang together as a cohesive album all that well proving once again that you cant glue an album together with ambient interludes.

But the key issue with The 1975 and the one I see hurting the album in the long run is that it’s very slick.

At times this album doesn’t feel so much created as it does assembled. The fact that 7 of these tracks were pulled from previous test-tube EPs doesn’t help matters. Every hook, every melody, every trendy reference to drugs feel very picked over for maximum popularity. When things are this relentlessly poppy, the initial impact is very impressive but it’s charms wear off over time. Only in the coming months will The 1975 prove it has depth and staying power.

With their moody black and white music videos, Tumblr ready promotional photos and “omg so hot” lead singer, The 1975 are primed for stardom and, at the time of this writing, seem like they’re about to get it too, the album came in at number one in the UK midweek. The 1975 earns that chart placement by being a pop music smash, loaded with potential singles that are sure to please it’s target audience. Only, at times it’s hard to tell if that audience is music fans or record label executives.



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user ratings (156)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Green Baron (3.5)
Ultimately, a hit-or-miss effort by one of indie pop's most anticipated bands....

Point1 (4)
The 1975 is a striking pop album that revels in indulgence and excess....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2013


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, back to back reviews.

Point1
September 6th 2013


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review.

Hopelust
September 6th 2013


1075 Comments


This sounds like such pop garbage that I might actually like it.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2013


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

For now, it really is a good time.

Green Baron
September 6th 2013


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wow both of you guys beat me to this one.

i started my review for this as soon as the soundcloud stream hit, but then i decided to review new NIN instead... came back to this and two reviews up for it already.

Anthracks
September 6th 2013


3744 Comments


so sick of this band's songs coming up on my radios

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Guzzo10
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2013


1056 Comments


thick as hell English accents featured on this


Good review as normal Kirk, pos

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2013


10211 Comments


My girlfriend will be psyched to see this review, haha. She told me about these gigs maybe a month ago. Nice job as always, Kirk.

SmurkinGherkin
September 7th 2013


1769 Comments


Girlfriend absolutely love these guys. Only listened to 'Sex' and 'Chocolate' and not sure I could handle a whole album of similar songs.

Cygnatti
September 7th 2013


21352 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yep.

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2013


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Girlfriend-rock" is actually a pretty apt definition of this album.

Green Baron
September 7th 2013


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

girls dig this shit. the only reason these guys are known is because one of the one erection idiots tweeted about them.

if people start calling matt healy hot and get his poster in their rooms, then this band will have gone to hell.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 7th 2013


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

uhhhhhhh......

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/matt-healy

Hopelust
September 7th 2013


1075 Comments


lol

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2013


3454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh god that's disconcerting

Green Baron
September 7th 2013


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuck that

stingraybassman
September 9th 2013


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, bit too much filler for me. Singles are infectious as hell though.

Spluger
September 12th 2013


1163 Comments


Chocolate is some ridiculously catchy stuff.

Fuff24
September 15th 2013


1118 Comments


A singles band for sure

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2013


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah this album blows more every day



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