If you haven’t been made aware of Manchester’s The 1975 yet then the rock you live under must be quite big. Their eponymous debut was bloody good, nostalgic fun, while their 2016 follow-up ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ was every bit as ambitious as its ridiculously long title suggests, blending a generous concoction of sounds into one quite mesmerising album.
Now, with so much already under their belt, how on Earth could the four-piece step up and deliver once again? By changing virtually everything, of course.
The group’s third effort, ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’, is a resounding journey into the unknown, proceeding to hop around genres like they’re city buses. At one moment you’ll be immersed in late night radio garage (‘How To Draw / Petrichor’), the other 80s tinged power balladry (‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’), or acoustic tear-jerkers (‘Be My Mistake’ and ‘Surrounded By Heads and Bodies’), a violence stained love song in ‘Inside Your Mind’, and a splash of Michael Bublé-esque jazz in ‘Mine’.
They even find time for a Black Mirror style, Siri narrated story on interluding ‘The Man Who Married The Internet’.
‘TooTimeTooTimeTooTime’ is perhaps the only one-dimensional moment, with its Afrobeat-cum-tropical electro-pop, yet even that’s intentional, written as a fun ode to modern day pop. With so many styles all mashed under one title, the flow of the album should be catastrophic, but, as ever, it all just clicks.
‘Love It If We Made It’ is an almighty triumph, epitomising the world’s messy and chaotic state with quotes ripped right from the POTUS’s mouth (and Twitter) alongside a stunningly dynamic pounding chorus. ‘Give Yourself A Try’ addresses the band’s audience about self-love through stories of frontman Matt Healy‘s own struggles – a theme explored emotionally across the entire album’s runtime, even behind a fictional character of heroin addict Danny on the infectious ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’.
Yet, arguably the peak comes at the climax in ‘I Always Want To Die (Sometimes)’, a morbidly beautiful and earnest conclusion to an album full of emotional highs and lows.
What The 1975 have created on ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ is a millennial, artistic reflection of the bat-shit crazy society that we live in today, composed by a group of musicians doing things that many other bands and artists could only dream of. The 1975 are without doubt the band of the moment.