Wednesday 24 February 2016

Album Review: The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

The 1975 -  'I like it when you sleep...' Tracklist
01. The 1975  02. Love Me  03. Ugh! 04. A Change of Heart  05. She’s American  06. If I Believe You   07.Please Be Naked  08. Lostmyhead  09. The Ballad of Me and My Brain  10. Somebody Else   
11. Loving Someone  12. I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it   
13. The Sound  14. This Must Be My Dream  15. Paris  16. Nana  17. She Lays Down

Released: 26th February 2016 via Dirty Hit Records

Time really does fly when you're having fun. Closing in on 3 years since their debut self-title record, The 1975 return with their much anticipated and gorgeously titled follow up 'I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it'. An accomplishment in itself, the band's continued use of intricate poetry and youth epitomising lyricism carries forth in to another defining artful masterpiece that we'll no doubt still be talking about for years to come.

From catching them play to a packed out room of no more than 100 or so fans in Bristol on the tip of their success, right through to the the countless hours spent on trains travelling up and down the country to shows, some of the best nights of my life have been in the presence of this band. It's one of the very reasons why they'll always hold a special place in my heart. They've managed to mould a genre in to their own, separating themselves from the scrambled pop buzz where immediacy and simplicity becomes the centre of production. Still being able to play a debut album from start to finish with the same level of emotion and nostalgia doesn't come around as often as one would think, yet The 1975's timeless sound is second to none and truly holds the same desires whether it's my 1000th play or very first.

Having allowed the new record to settle, it's by no mean feat then to lay claim to its intimacy and intensive characteristics playing true once more. To keep up that same level of comitment and quality for 17 tracks should earn an award in itself. Filler's not a word in their vocab when it comes to albums and here's most certainly no different. Setting the scene on a reprise of sorts following in suit to their eponymous album with another self titled single, its subdued haunting atmospherics entice you lavishly inwards to the journey ahead. A world away from Love Me's colourful Bowie-esque swagger that meets Prince style basslines and vibrant chord changes head-on. Recent new single Ugh! follows and continues to divulge their sickly sweet 80s influence to a tee as Healy floats effortlessly over the track's jazzy guitars and electronic percussion. A track that couldn't be as far from its onomatopoeia-induced name if it tried.

Anyone lucky enough to have caught the band on their recent tour will be all too familiar with A Change of Heart and She's American. Two tracks that have constantly drawn me back to the fan recorded live videos on YouTube since hearing them back in November. "You used to have a face straight out of a magazine". A continuing theme that sees the band draw further reference from their debut offering. Sadly there's no dreamy introspective sax solo on the latter as there is live but its jittering guitars and breathing space showcase an airy alternative dynamic.

"If I believe you will that make it stop". Not so much an ode to the big man himself, but we do see an atheist Matty reach within his Gospel-like qualities here, searching for some kind of answer to the never ending suffering - a topic that seems prevalent throughout as we live his inner-monologue. Its clean and polished sound swelling to the surface as Healy's pin point vocal delivery effortlessly compliments its instrumentation. It's not until Please Be Naked we get a first sense of their past - those haunting atmospherics and minimalistic drones that drew a lot of us to their uniquely cultivated sound coming flooding back. The first instrumental offering on the record and a poignant effort at that. On the one hand it's so incredibly beautiful, yet with it comes a gut-wrenching bleakness that aches with each play as its layering builds amongst twinkling key strikes and reverberated synth notes. A perfect set up for Lostmyhead. Another dizzying guitar track that brings you to the knees with its soaring synth pad textures and sudden cathartic release of percussion. Those 80's influences aren't far behind though, creeping their way back in on The Ballad of Me and My Brain, a track that sees Healy go off in search of his own mind after suddenly being caught up in the madcap world of fame and all that goes with it. "Where would I be if I was my brain".

There's no loose screws on Somebody Else. Another track thats prominent lyrics hit home and struck a chord since hearing the track live. "I Don't want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else". Perfectly capturing those destructive days where you're torn between moving on yet still not comfortable with the idea of their future without you, it's a track so hedonistic it'll take your breath away. Quite the contradictory introduction then to Loving Someone as its synthesised vocals preach over a ghostly beat. A constant switch up on delivery keeps listeners on their toes as Healy showcases his altogether wondrous lyricism over one of my favourite productions on the record. Meanwhile the albums title track brings back a sombering tone through a second, mostly instrumental offering of skittering arpeggiated notes and subdued chopped up vocal samples.

As its pulsating almost dance floor ready beat dissipates as the layers fall away, previously released The Sound takes its place with an amplifying bassline. Probably their most euphoric and uplifting to date, it serves as a perfect testament to their diversifying style as Adam Hann leads up a blistering guitar solo. Elsewhere, This Must Be My Dream gives light to a promising relationship only to fall sour transcribing incredible detail in to their rivetting 80's influence. The track's sultry sax line and pacifying chorus adding further dynamics to an already flourishing sound. One that's kept up with Paris. A jittering synth led intro leading to a tale of the often psychotic company Healy tends to find himself amongst.

Edging in to its final stage, we're left with a heartfelt celebration of life to the unfortunate passing of Healy's Grandmother in Nana. A cutting and emotionally led piece that anyone would be proud of as he shares stories of their times together imagining what the future would have held. It seems only fitting here to bow out with the inconceivably raw She Lays Down. Completely stripped of all instrumentation, except for his vulnerability and softly plucked guitar strings, we come to understand the importance of self reflection as he wears his heart firmly on his sleeve. It's so easy to forget that in their superlative pop sensibilities is a real unblemished identity as he documents his mothers past battle with depression.

A masterclass in heady breath-taking indulgence, The 1975's 'I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it' is an utterly devine and honest record. An album that's essentially an ode to our teenage youth with all the naïveté of falling in to and out of love that we'll experience. The parties, the moments when life really gets to you, the highs and the lows. Let this be your soundtrack.



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