November 30, 2018 The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (Album Review)
One of the youngest bands to create a buzz and make a name for themselves around the early 2010s, The 1975 has truly musically matured and evolved in only a span of three proper albums. Albeit it was formed as early as 2002, in Manchester, England, The 1975 was able to release its debut, self-titled, full-length already in 2013. The follow-up came in 2016, I Like It when You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It.
Now, The 1975 has unleashed its third oeuvre. Released on Friday, November 30, 2018, on Dirty Hit/Polydor Records, The 1975’s new album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, is a package of punches and melodies mixing the edginess of ’80s New Wave as well as Synthpop and the sophisticated yet accessible millennial beat of contemporary Indie Pop along with R&B-flavored Sophistipop.
After the eponymous soundcheck tune, The 1975’s Inquiry bounces with the upbeat, catchy, guitar-driven track “Give Yourself a Try.” It is then followed by “Too Time, Too Time, Too Time” – another feel-good song; this time, a plunge into modern Synthpop in the league of Owl City (“Fireflies”) and Hurts (“Better than Love”). A further dive into the synthesizer-driven domain comes next with the moody and ambient “How to Draw/Petrichor” – breezy, soulful, bluesy, and Christmassy in music-box terms, which then simmers into the pleasant-pungent paradox of the smell of the dry ground after a bout of rain.
“Love It if We Made It” is another contemplative yet pounding Sophistipop mid-tempo that continues the album’s romantic narrative. The ensuing “Be My Mistake” is a change of style and pace – a slow Folk ballad orchestrated by only the acoustic guitar, piano, and Vocalist Matthew Healey’s soothing voice. “Sincerity Is Scary” and “I Like America & America likes Me” are both a sharp left turn to yet different sonic realms – a perfect mélange of R&B, Light Jazz, and vocoder-laced Boy-band Pop.
The 1975 then further diversify their latest work with the audio-book narrative, film score-inspired “The Man who Married a Robot/Love Theme.” The following “Inside Your Mind” showcases, once again, The 1975’s penchant for biting and heartrending balladry—to great effect. One of the album’s loveliest tracks, “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)” is a cool, smile-pulling throwback tripper that can make sweethearts swoon in sweet surrender. Another piece of nostalgic beauty, “Surrounded by Heads and Bodies” can return the reflective listener to a solitary and quiet moment in her youthful past. The ’50s Traditional Pop-inspired, piano-led and saxophone-graced “Mine” continues the band’s musings and reminiscences into the classic and romantic yester decades. Still in the same sentimental mood, the penultimate track, “I Couldn’t Be More in Love,” is a soft and soulful segue to the album’s closer.
Finally, The 1975 wrap up their Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships with “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” is a smooth-sailing tinge of Alternative Pop Rock balladry that may remind the initiated of songs like “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day, “Is This the Best It Gets?” by Budapest, and “All of This” by blink-182.
Despite the album’s very noticeable stylistic diversity that might alienate some so-called purists, The 1975’s latest effort is worth gracing any respectable Alternative Pop fan’s playlist. All things considered, the quartet of The 1975—Healy (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizers), Adam Hann (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, synthesizers), Ross MacDonald (bass, backing vocals, keyboards, samplers, synthesizers), and George Daniel (drums, percussion, backing vocals, keyboards, synthesizers)—are ready to set sail again. Cryptic Rock gives A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships 4 out of 5 stars.