Wednesday 28 November 2018

Album Review: The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

 The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships Tracklist
1. The 1975   2. Give Yourself a Try   3. TooTimeTooTimeTooTime  4. How to Draw / Petrichor   5. Love It If We Made It   6. Be My Mistake    7. Sincerity Is Scary   8. I Like America & America Likes Me    9.  The Man Who Married a Robot / Love Theme  10. Inside Your Mind   11. It's Not Living (If It's Not with You)   12. Surrounded by Heads and Bodies   13. Mine  14. I Couldn't Be More in Love  15. I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)

Released November 30th via Dirty Hit/Universal Music

Love them or loathe them, The 1975 are a band of our times. And one that still truly cares for their fans, something rare to see these days when their level of stardom's reached. The lyrical content on their debut self titled record is as relevant today as it was back then. If anything's changed, its Matty's eye liner and true sense of identity channelled in to their sound. Across their album's, they've mastered a plan and stuck to it, traversing the world tenfold from performing in grotty Manchester bars to Madison Square Gardens, all the while still reaching out to the people who've put them where they are today. 

Whether it's this camaraderie, the sense of involvement or just their innate ability in creating ground-shattering, relatable music, the band continue to leave me bereft and emotionally drained. Diving in to their Twitter feed, I'm not the only one.

Never to do things by half measure, they returned to the studio earlier this year to put the finishing touches to their long-awaited third studio album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships and this is the result - a heart-wrenching look in to the beautifully dark online dimension. Let's face it, for the good or bad, the world wide web has played a pivotal role in almost everyone's lives. It's only right that someone attempts to unravel it and who better for the job than the mind of Matty.

The albums opening track has become a theme over the years, ever so slightly altered, stretched and remixed. Its latest variation a sparse piano led piece punctuated by Healy's autotuned vocals. The first bit of real meat to sink your teeth in to comes in the form of their silence breaking single Give Yourself a Try. Having checked himself in to rehab before recording this most recent effort, it seems only fitting to give ode to yourself. Lyrically it's one of my favourites. "I found a grey hair in one of my zoots. Like context in a modern debate, I just took it out. The only apparatus required for happiness is your pain and fucking going outside And getting STDs at 27 really isn't the vibe". It's underrated, so subtle it could often be overlooked but the depth in each flowing word builds him in to a true modern day biographer.

Recent single TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME carries over a similar theme which uncasts their darkened stylistics revealing tropical imagery atop of a bouncy accessible beat. It's an indulgent record and many of the tracks carry with them a distinct emotion of sadness. Whilst there's highs on How to Draw / Petrichor's glitchy electronics, its intro quickly reminds me of the painstaking beauty the band conjure from their spacious twinkling piano strikes and eerie atmospherics. Be My Mistake serves as a prime example for this as Healy's honest truths and sparse guitar strums only add fuel to the fire.

There's a vast array of dynamics present on their third outing. From the soulful arrangement of Sincerity is Scary to I Like America & America Likes Me as haunting synth pad textures are met with the band's best Bon Iver mimicking attempt through heavy autotune. And who'd have thought SIRI could make you think so profoundly. The Man Who Married A Robot / Love Theme is a wonderful look at the lonely world we live in, surrounded by the fake lives we build through the internet - Its an anthem for when you feel everything yet at the same time, absolute nothingness.

Compared with their previous albums, A Brief Inquiry.... delivers a lot of rawness. Inside Your Mind encompasses this to an extravagant degree as jarring string sections occupy space between Healy's soft tones and its percussive chimes. Where equally, Surrounded By Heads And Bodies comes fully-fledged with ushered snare drum hits and a simmering energy that drives a band toying with their disparate nature.

Elsewhere on the record there's a a glimmer of She's American in It's Not Living (If It's Not With You) through upbeat melodies and polished overtones where As I Couldn't Be More In Love soothingly rolls in to the album's finale, not least before its soulful onslaught of prince-inspired harmonies and brass sections take hold.

There's a lot going on but if there's one thing The 1975 do well it’s connecting the dots. This romantic exploration in to the de-sensitising online world has been nothing short of a love-affair. And to think we get to do it all over again in such short succession with the band promising a follow up, no one can deny their ambition and work-rate.

'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' will be released this Friday 30th November 2018.



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