No matter your opinions and tastes in music, more specifically that of Manchester’s The 1975, you’d be hard pressed to find a band who have an album with a longer title than their sophomore output, ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’.
Yep, it’s creepy (or a sign of admiration, depending on your stance), but much like the album’s cover it certainly craves some attention; the bright pink neon lights against an almost as bright stark white wall is pretty much identical to that of the band’s 2013 self-titled LP.
Where the band grabbed some great attention and recognition from their self-titled debut, with hit singles ‘Girls’, ‘Sex’, and ‘Chocolate’ in particular still getting heavy rotation on radio stations and night clubs, ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ aims to grab that success by the scruff of the neck, nurture and mother it, and push it forward for better things. What we have here is an album that has been polished, refined, and meticulously combed over and picked at to remove almost any trace of human error without sounding abundantly robotic.
Things start off great; ‘Love Me’ has a twangy and slick guitar line that instantly gets hips moving, and the sugary ‘She’s American’ ticks every box in the radio-friendly pop-rock playbook, and even highlights the stereotype that most British people have bad teeth, with the chorus hook “If she says I’ve gotta fix my teeth, then she’s so American.”
The later one-two of ‘The Sound’ and ‘This Must Be My Dream’ is also a shining highlight, the former of the two being a sure-fire chart bothering hit and the latter bringing a very retro feel to it, and even a nice little saxophone solo in the middle section. There’s also something a little Wham!-like about the misery laced ‘Somebody Else’.
Infact, there’s a very 80s throwback vibe throughout the album, particularly in the far more prominent electronic aspect of their sound that they’ve decided to take this time around.
‘I Like It When You Sleep…’, however, isn’t without its share of pitfalls. For a band at any stage of their career, putting out an album of 17 tracks – or indeed clocking in with a runtime of just over an hour – is very bold. The 1975 display a lot of ideas here, from the general 80s pastiche, the gospel choirs (‘If I Believe You’), and the Imogen Heap-esque ‘Lostmyhead’, to name but a few, but it just feels like a lot of fat could be shaved off to make for a more thorough and streamlined release that most would struggle to lose focus on from start to finish.
Ambition and innovative progression cannot be put into question here, and this LP is certainly one of more refreshing releases seen in British indie rock/pop-rock in the past few years. But, what ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ has highlighted most is that The 1975‘s strengths lie in the more upbeat and slightly more traditional songwriting paths, and this record also further enriches that point alongside similar tracks found on the 2013 self-titled output.