ALBUM REVIEW: The 1975 – Notes On A Conditional Form

Release Date: May 24th 2020
Label: Dirty Hit/Polydor Records


Embracing a multitude of genres and inspired by British nightlife, ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’, the fourth record by The 1975, sees the quartet deliver their most ambitious record yet.

Tackling electronica, punk, modern RnB and delivering a staggeringly large collection of tracks, The 1975 aim for a bold and daring chapter in their career.

Opening up such a dense record in a suitably unexpected fashion, The 1975 eschews tradition and becomes a protest song led by Greta Thunberg. With a delicate and shifting melody acting as a foundation for the track, the record begins with minimalism before jumping into the jarring ‘People’. Drenched in post-punk, the track employs twisting guitars and screamed vocals whilst retaining the quartet’s knack for a memorable chorus.

Throughout the record, the band dabble in a multitude of genres, from the orchestral ‘The End’ to country rock number ‘Roadkill’, complete with a honky tonk inspired piano melody. Whilst their fourth full-length sees the band dabble within near enough every sound that they can get their hands on, the inherent charm found on their debut self-titled still shines through.

Clocking in at over an hour, the record does run the risk of becoming bloated, but by keeping to tight structures and a varied track placement, the likes of ‘The Birthday Party’ shine brighter than if the confessional track was displayed later down the line.

As the record enters its second half, scattered beats and swirling synths provide the backbone for frontman Matt Healy‘s confessional lyrics. With tracks such as ‘I Think There’s Something You Should Know’ and ‘Tonight (I Wish I Was You Boy)’ melding 90s trance and contemporary minimalism together, The 1975 move further away from their signature sound.

Whilst the record does tread close to disregarding the quartet’s core style, ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ perfectly blends the old and the new with lush synths and a bombastic chorus to compliment the more progressive tendencies of the single.

As the record winds down with the contemplative ‘Don’t Worry’, the group leave no stone unturned, embracing a plethora of sounds and influences. Whilst it could’ve been easy for The 1975 to rely on tightly structured pop-rock tracks, ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ sees the quartet aim for a wider soundscape. Narrowly pulling off such an ambitious record, The 1975 have opened up countless avenues for themselves.