The 1975’s eponymous debut album is a British, pop-rock gem akin to Ed Sheeran’s album “+” of two years prior. However, unlike Sheeran, The 1975 opts for a much more aggressive rock sound utilizing a unique combination of clean electric guitars, synthesizers, and stadium-sized percussion to create some truly infectious melodies. The production value is high with the album boasting many glossy, seemingly sampled sounds. Frontman Matt Healy’s sometimes brash, sometimes lazy, sometimes sultry, but always fitting voice shimmers above the mix with busy wordplay and a characteristically muddled diction that suits the youthful angst and confusion that the band embodies.
“Run, run away from the boys in the blue / My car smells like chocolate,” Matt Healy recounts on the album’s lead single, “Chocolate,” which metaphorically assigns the allure of the sweet candy to that of cannabis or of indulgence in general. Other notable tracks such as “Sex” and “Girls” take the theme of indulgence a step further as Healy delves into what seem to be personal anecdotes of brushes with infidelity (“Now we’re on the bed in my room / And I’m about to fill his shoes”) or underage sex (“She can’t be what you need if she’s 17”), while still maintaining a lighthearted charm despite the severity. Slowing things down, the tracks “Robbers” and “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You” better reveal the romantic vulnerability of Healy’s lyrics amongst smoky palm muted electric guitars and a far-miked upright piano.
The 1975 have crafted a memorable album filled with catchy melodies and a uniquely blended pop-rock sound. Disappointingly, The 1975 did not have the chart topping debut success in the US as it experienced in the UK. However, as with all great music, The 1975 will inevitably find its way into any music enthusiast’s library, as this album deserves to be heard.
Roland’s Rating: 8/10
Key Tracks: “Chocolate,” “Girls”