The 1975 – The 1975 (Self Titled) [Review]

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The 1975 have existed as a band for a number of years, under differing monikers and have built a significant fan following and developed their sound doing so. ‘The 1975’ is a culmination of several years work, and their first assault on the charts. It also happens to be one of 2013’s best albums, and a very impressive debut.

There’s something about naming the title and opening track after your self-titled album that suggests The 1975 want listeners to remember their name. It’s a statement of the bands intended longevity and thankfully the 15 tracks that follow back it up. The 1975 have a significant talent for writing and playing sublime indie-pop/rock, showcased throughout their eponymous debut album.

‘The 1975’ ebbs and flows from start to finish, from more mellow moments (‘Robbers’) to heavier songs (‘Sex’). It provides a good mix of sounds, especially with Matt Healy’s unique and varied vocals, which are always excellent. Some of the guitar work on the album is akin to early Vampire Weekend, especially ‘Talk!’ with its intermittent twangs, whilst some songs are more reminiscent of 80’s pop music – ‘Heart Out’ borrows from influences like A-ha. It makes for a varied listen that never disappoints, but thrives as a work of art rather than a standard and straight forward modern album. It’s very well produced and constructed, with a penchant for song writing far surpassing what is expected of a debut.

There’s a very relaxed feel to songs like ‘Settle Down’ which cruise along on simple drum beats, melodic guitars, and a contagious bass guitar sequence. Fourth track and lead single ‘Chocolate’ is still the catchiest song you’re likely to hear for some time, brimming with charm and charisma. Toe tappers like ‘She Way Out’ and ‘The City’ bring energy whilst closer ‘Is There Someone Who Can Watch You’ is a piano driven slow burner which highlights a more mature style, and is a more serious number compared to the enigmatic songs that precede it. It seems odd to end on such a melancholic note, but it paints The 1975 as proper musicians and shows a darker side explored on past EP’s. The album is good lyrically with themes including drugs, sex and crime; ‘Girls’ is a good example and a personal favourite.

‘The 1975’ contains 16 tracks, which is refreshingly more than expected of a mainstream album, despite some of the tracks coming from past EP’s (‘The City’, ‘Sex’). For me these re-workings of fan favourites seem unnecessary, as I preferred the version of ‘Sex’ released last year, but it shows the band haven’t just simply plucked material from past releases to bolster their debut. Ed Sheeran made a similar move on his debut, and its likely that The 1975 are destined for similar levels of success. It also helps that the majority of tracks featured on the album could work as stand alone singles – a hope expressed by vocalist Matt Healy last year. This means that a 51 minute length isn’t a problem, due to the quality of the songs featured here.

‘The 1975’ is an excellent album, and probably the best ‘indie’ release this year. It’s a breath of fresh air, being uplifting and well crafted. I’ve listened to it more than a dozen times now, and it continues to grow on me with each listen. It has depth, character, and a prowess uncommon in debut albums, and its a reflection of how good The 1975 (band and album) actually are.

Rating – 9/10

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