Artist in Focus: The 1975

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“Give yourself a try,” sings Matt Healy, as he bounces around set with electric red hair. The lyric encapsulates everything that the band’s fanbase loves them for and the video, a mad mixture of indulgent self-expression and energy, encapsulates their eccentricity. This is an eccentricity that The 1975 have been unafraid of flaunting since their debut. However, it really became clear that the band would be following the beat of their own drum when the unusually long name of their second album was released: I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. What an album it is. Jazz, soul, rock, pop, indie, alternative. One genre is not enough to explore the plethora of emotions that Matty sings about so they use them all. This album has heart; it proved (after their commercially successful but less varied first album) that The 1975 had the potential to do something truly different. In 2017 they won the Brit Award for Best British Group.

After I Like It When You Sleep fans waited desperately for news on the next album. The band remained cryptic and stayed away from multimedia. Until, that is, Matty sent out the tweet that would finally set off The 1975’s ‘Music For Cars’ era: “1st June, The 1975”. The exact inscription (found at the back of a beat poetry book) that inspired the band’s name and the first teaser for their new music. The single ‘Give Yourself A Try’ was released to much anticipation on 1st June 2018 and was everything the fans had been waiting for, the best lyric surely being “I found a grey hair on one of my zoots, like context in a modern debate I just took it out.” After ‘Give Yourself A Try’ the band released ‘Love it if We Made it’ followed by ‘TOOTIME’. However their fourth release, ‘Sincerity is Scary’, projects a more melancholic tone than the other three which are more upbeat. ‘Sincerity is Scary’ might be the most real though: it is a self-conscious reflection that tackles the fear of truth. We might expect this to be a running theme in the upcoming album entitled A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships: online we can be someone else – there is no need to be sincere – so we can lose sight of who we are.

But if The 1975 are anything, it’s sincere. The band never shies away from a topic and every song seems to be a search for something inside of the self. It’s no surprise that their origins trace back to a book of beat poetry; in particular a collection of Kerouac’s poems. It’s easy to see that The 1975 have taken inspiration from the poet known for his disjointed and spontaneous writing on topics such as religion, narcotic abuse, sex and jazz. Just listen to ‘If I Believe You’ from their second album. Together, Matty Healy, Adam Hann, Ross Macdonald and George Daniel are creating poetry in their music. Poetry is in the streets, after all.

A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships will be released on 30th November 2018 via Dirty Hit Records. The band will be touring the UK in January 2019. Information on The 1975’s fourth album, called Notes on a Conditional Form, has already been released: it is expected in May 2019.

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