Wednesday 4 September 2013

The 1975 - The 1975

Remember at the start of the year when Radio 1 boss George Ergatoudis claimed that guitar music would be making a comeback in 2013?  Well he was right.  One of the biggest success stories is Manchester band The 1975, who are at the forefront of this movement following successful single and EP releases as well as supporting Muse on tour and impressing at the summer festivals.

It's a fair criticism to say that their singles (The City, Chocolate, Sex) all stick to a familiar formula.  However, the full album is far more varied than anticipated.  In addition to their usual youthful, pop-rock sound characterised by funk guitar riffs, infectious melodies and the high-pitched vocals of frontman Matthew Healy, the electronic elements from the band's EPs make a return.  Interludes like opener The 1975, An Encounter and the imaginatively titled 12 (guess which track number that is) add a woozy, dreamy quality reminiscent of M83's teenage dream-pop album 'Saturdays = Youth'.  Then there's the staccato beats of M.O.N.E.Y and the sultry synths of Menswear that continue to add contrast, blurring the lines between the band's electro-pop and rock aesthetics.

To an extent, some tracks feel specifically included to broaden the band's appeal as wide as possible.  Heart Out for example features a pulsing 80s synth bass straight out of the Drive soundtrack and, later, a saxophone solo, whilst final track Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You is a fragmented piano ballad that clearly emulates James Blake.  The former is a brilliant twist on their sound to match current trends, but the latter just feels too out of character with the rest of the album.

At sixteen tracks, 'The 1975' is perhaps too long, but the band's core sound is so good that all can be forgiven.  Talk!, Settle Down and Girls are just incredibly bright, buoyant and effervescent tracks that cannot fail to make you smile.  And whilst the lyrics are at times a little immature, it all adds to their sexually-charged, youthful charm.

The 1975 have proven, then, that it's not just synths that can make you dance, but guitar hooks and yearning pop melodies.  This is an accomplished debut album that is bound to light up the radio, the charts and gig venues across the country, appealing to pop fans, guitar fans and everybody in between.


Gizzle's Choice:
* The City
* Heart Out
* Girls

Listen: 'The 1975' is available now.

Watch: The band are touring the UK throughout the autumn.