Thursday, 21 May 2020

Album Review: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

Album Review: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

 The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form
01. The 1975   02.People  03.The End (Music For Cars)  04. Frail State of Mind
05. Streaming  06. The Birthday Party  07. Yeah I Know  08. Then Because She Goes
09. Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America  10. Roadkill  11. Me & You Together Song
12. I Think There’s Something You Should Know  13. Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied
14. Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy)  15. Shiny Collarbone  
16. If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)  17. Playing On My Mind  18. Having No Head
19. What Should I Say  20. Bagsy Not in Net  21. Don’t Worry  22. Guys

Released May 22 via Dirty Hit/Universal Music

It seems only fitting that The 1975 would release their fourth studio album amidst a worldwide pandemic. Having been pushed back throughout the year, it comes at a time no one could have predicted, and might just end up being the soundtrack to our summer spent indoors. That aside, it's a profound and ambitious step forwards for a band that have seemingly already achieved all there is to be achieved.

Recorded over 2 years, in no less than 16 different studios across the world, the final artefact has landed and it's certainly their most dynamic release to date.

Gone is the band's abstract and abbreviated oral sex visualisation that was their ever evolving self-titled intro track. A timely tradition, replaced by a call to action courtesy of activist Greta Thunberg. There's really no denying Manchester's The 1975 aren't well and truly head spinners. And what better way to showcase this other than in ripping up the rule book in their gothic return on People, a track that shocked us all when they unveiled it on a dreary unsuspecting August evening last year. It's often hard to believe its brash and raucous energy, a stark departure from their previous sound, sits proudly amongst happy go lucky boyband-esque nuances, as demonstrated so well in the gooey Me & You Together Song or the softly whispered Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America.

With most of the single's already in existence, the band make the album listening experience all the more real again as the record's interludes seamlessly blend between track's. With what is a large chunk already in the public domain, long before its release date, it begs to question "what else remains?". Yet they still have some tricks up their sleeve, even if it does take some grit and determination to get through. It is 22 songs long after all.

With that in mind there's certainly no denying the band's work-rate, however it does in places feel haphazardly pieced together. Maybe that's the downfall of having so many ideas and no clear indication of direction. It's a nagging feeling that often leaves it lacking in the same uniquely identifiable ways that each of their previous albums' identities worked so hard to build on. The only centralised underpinned sound on this incarnation is the arpeggiated electronic melodies that echo throughout Frail State of Mind and Yeah I know. There's also I Think There's Something You Should Know, with its sub-bass rattling backdrop and Shiny Collarbone, a true nod to the UK's rave scene as bouncy rhythms meet chaotic drum loops and cut up vocal samples. 

Elsewhere, again, the 6 minute Having No Head slowly builds in to another cathartic Jon Hopkins inspired monster, snarling in to life from a spacious ambient intro, all before retreating back to its softly played piano outro. From Matty's country/folk stylistics on Roadkill (with its all too real lyrics) to If You're Too Shy's sickly sweet synth lines, pop perfected sensibilities and dreamy introspective sax solos, the record's often scattered genre hopping approach to songwriting gives it far wider depth than we've ever had the pleasure of before.

What Should I Say is another curveball. It's anxiety punctuated lyrics coupled with over processed vocals and choppy electronic synth pads deliver a haunting address and could easily form a live favourite amongst their set. There's also to note that this the band's most collaborative effort yet with features from Phoebe Bridgers, FKA Twigs, Cutty Ranks and by no means least to mention the record's penultimate track Don't Worry, a touching ballad written by Matty's dad Tim Healy.

Whilst you need to set aside some dedicated time to bathe in its striking moments of brilliance, the record sees the band take on a new persona, sticking it to convention and normalisation. But when have they ever played by the rules?

The 1975's 'Notes On A Conditional Form' will be released May 22 through Dirty Hit. 



Wednesday, 20 May 2020

BILK - I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did

Essex-based trio BILK today share their real-to-life new single I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did. Tearing through the memories of a night out, blow by blow, Sol Abrahams recalls a fight he got in to resulting in a three night stay in a hospital bed courtesy of the NHS. "The song documents a true story of when I got into a fight on the night England got knocked out of the World Cup. I got knocked out myself and had to spend three nights in hospital with a fractured skull and a concussion. It definitely seems that violence on nights out has become a normal part of British culture, and more often than not is sparked by something insignificant like the result of an England game, so I wanted to make a song about my experience with that. I’d like to think that when pubs reopen everyone will be pleased to see each other, and there won’t be as many fights, but I don’t reckon anything will change". Take a listen to the high octane anthem for yourselves below.


MAX RAD - Back Around

Following on from his debut EP ‘Save Me From Myself’ Part 1, Max Rad returns with his latest single, Back Around. Kicking off a whole new chapter, we see plenty more soulful melodies propped up by his signature laid back, emotive vocals and jazzy guitars. Speaking on new single, Max said: “It's the feeling of not being able to get out of a rut that you find yourself in - people not treating you the way you would like to be treated, or perhaps an emotion that weighs you down. You want to get moving and pull yourself up again, but something else that is either in or out of your control has other ideas. When you are ready to move forward, but you can't.” Take a listen for yourselves below. ‘Save Me From Myself Part.2’ is due soon and looks set to be "a little lighter, looking positively towards the future".


Monday, 18 May 2020

The White Lakes - Summer (She Won't Wait)

Guilford via Oxford based four-piece The White Lakes have today returned with their euphoric new single, Summer (She Won't Wait). Wasting no time before getting stuck in, it cranks in to motion through a high sprung guitar line adding splashes of vibrant colour to its thundering percussive backdrop. Described being about "capturing the hazy summer days with mates", their innate ability for creating high energy, insatiably catchy pop songs proves true once more. Take a listen for yourselves below. For fans of Gang Of Youths.

The White Lakes are: Matt Ellacott (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Finlay Carson (Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals), Logan McQuirk (Bass) and Kyle Oliveira (Drums).


MAURITIA - Daydreaming

Seeking out new ways of creativity through lockdown, Northern-based five-piece MAURITIA return with their brand new single Daydreaming, accompanied by its very own home-made video. Underpinned by the track's infectious guitar lines, it's driving force packs in a euphoric backdrop of upbeat melodies, funky basslines and unrivalled energy as the band continue to raise the bar with their anthemic pop sensibilities. Check it out for yourselves below.


Friday, 15 May 2020

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Falling Thunder

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have recently returned with their latest single, Falling Thunder, taken from the band's forthcoming second album 'Sideways To New Italy' due out June 5th 2020 on Sub Pop. Speaking about the single, Tom Russo explains it's "about pushing on through the relentless march of time, against the constant cycle of seasons. And the way people change and relationships change. It’s set in that time when autumn is turning into winter and the trees are getting bare." Take a listen for yourselves below.

Rolling Blackouts C.F. - Sideways To New Italy // Sub Pop - 05/06/20

1. The Second of the First
2. Falling Thunder
3. She's There
4. Beautiful Steven
5. The Only One
6. Cars in Space
7. Cameo
8. Not Tonight
9. Sunglasses at the Wedding
10. The Cool Change


Hoofa - Alone

Last week saw London-based duo Hoofa return as the pair unveiled their expansive and brooding new single Alone. Touching in to ambient territories with its soft and spacious opening, the track quickly builds on its indie roots as arpeggiated synths rain down across its driving beat - perfectly capturing their message of self sufficiency. Take a listen for yourselves below.


Thursday, 14 May 2020

Dream Wife - Hasta La Vista

Digging through my emails and I almost missed this brilliant new single from London-based trio Dream Wife. The three piece recently shared their latest single Hasta La Vista, the second track taken from their forthcoming new album. "Hasta is one of the first songs we wrote after we completed our touring cycle for our debut album." the band explain. "We’d played over 200 shows in 18 months and had returned to London to discover that things around us had changed and so had we.  Close relationships fell apart and others came together. This song is about accepting and embracing that change and being thankful to what that was and what it is today." Take a listen for yourselves below.