Album Review: The 1975 (Self-Titled)

Hailing from Manchester, The 1975 have an impressive musical legacy to live up to … but from first glance, the album artwork is dull; and surprise-surprise the debut album from The 1975 is also bland, boring and monotonous.

‘Sex’ is one of the only full sounding tracks on the album – and you would hope so, given the amount of time the band have had to play around with it. This song was re-recorded, from when The 1975 were named the Slowdown. Did you know that? Well, regardless of whether you did or didn’t, the fact that the band didn’t make it the first time round but did with re-branding suggests to me that they’re lacking the wow factor. That’s not what everyone else seems to think though, as the self-titled album charted No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart on 8 September 2013 – ahead of Nine Inch Nails’ comeback album.

It’s not their music that fails to convince me. Matt Healy has been transformed into an “indie” fashion icon, especially by the Tumblr community; yet I can’t see past the greasy hair and his voice. Sure, it’s a unique look. But is unique always good? Looking past the band’s image and the single ‘Sex’, the rest of the album is underdeveloped, consisting of similar sounding tracks that reek of the band’s desperation to “make it big”. Amongst the limited tracks worthy of mention is ‘The City’ which built on a chunky drum loop which is evocative of Bloc Party (which most people will know from the FIFA soundtrack) – beyond ‘Sex’ ‘The City’ and ‘Chocolate’, there is very little worthy of discussion.

Bland tracks like ‘Talk!’ suggest that the band included them to make up numbers for the track list, and the cynic in me suspects the exclamation point was included to excite the listener in a way that the song itself fails to do. The electro-pop feel to a lot of their material suggests that The 1975 would be more aptly named ‘The 1985′ – and their album’s tone correlates with the fact they don’t appear to have thought much about their sound. Possibly one of the worst tracks on the album is ‘Robbers’ – I think it’s meant to be a power ballad … but it’s so lacking in ‘oomph’ that it’s quite hard to tell.

They’ve certainly taken the world by a storm – much like One Direction – in the sense that they have adoring fan girls. My Instagram feed is adorned with drawings and black and white photos of Matt Healy smoking. Nowadays, the music industry is as much about band image as it is the quality of music produced; and this is the sad but true reality. Will The 1975 last as Matt Healy’s looks deteriorate? Probably not.

One thing that can be said in the bands favour, however, is their live performances, they put on an absolutely cracking show.