A prolific frontliner from the recent batch of Indie Rockers, the Manchester-based The 1975 return to the spotlight in 2022 with their newest album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language.
Released on October 14th, via Dirty Hit, The 1975’s latest effort is their fourth consecutive album released in two year intervals; starting with 2016’s I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, and continuing through the prior album in 2020, Notes on a Conditional Form. Their fifth overall record, while Notes on a Condition Form showcased various stylistic approaches, Being Funny in a Foreign Language is an ambitious offering, owing to the album’s orchestral treatment.
Consisting of eleven new songs, it opens with “The 1975,” which exudes vibrant vibes of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” This is then followed by the second single–the Disco-inspired “Happiness.” From here The 1975 then take you to the glamorous and glittery globe of ’80s Electropop, with “Looking for Somebody (To Love)’ which exudes echoes of Huey Lewis & the News and Joe Jackson. This is while the album’s the lead single, “Part of the Band,” bursts with its rustic and tuneful horn-and-string accompaniment. And then there is the Sophistipop sensibilities of the piano-led “Oh Caroline,” which will fit well on a playlist that includes Johnny Hates Jazz (“Foolish Heart”), Bruce Hornsby & the Range (“The Way It Is”), and Black (“Everything Is Coming Up Roses”).
With more coming thereafter, another single, “I’m in Love with You” is a feel-good song-next-door, so to speak. This is while the band relaxes the mood with the slow, blue-eyed, soulful ballad “All I Need to Hear,” before then launches again into something upbeat, poppy, angular, and melodic–“Wintering.” Following with a couple of tracks more – “Human Too” and the heartrending “About You” – Matthew Healey (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Adam Hann (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Ross McDonald (bass, keyboards, backing vocals), and George Daniel (drums, keyboards, backing vocals) finishes up Being Funny in a Foreign Language with a whiff of calming countryside air of “When We Were Together.”
Among its contemporaries, The 1975 proves to be one of the most sophisticated and productive with five distinctive albums in 10 years! That is a feat… especially in the current music scene. Overall, Being Funny in a Foreign Language continues the English band’s foray into adventurous sonic styling. A good mix of different sounds and lots of room for variety, Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.