Just where do the Manchester four-piece imagine they’re coming from – or going to? If, as their Wikipedia page suggests, they’re “alternative rock”, then not only is there a lack of both “alternative” or “rock”, but the whole effort’s far too synthetic; like a supermarket brand pair of imitation Converse. On the flip side, if it’s a pop crown they’re after – it’s all just too dull. The lack of hooks (the repeated “she’s got a girlfriend anyway” from ‘Sex’ is the most memorable point on the record, though this may be because it’s the only decipherable line on it), the lack of ideas, the lack of any distinguishing factors is as baffling as it is laughable. ‘The City’ may try epic, ‘M.O.N.E.Y’ may attempt to ape Mike Skinner’s The Streets circa 2003, ‘Talk!’ might be their take on Vampire Weekend-style Ivy League tropicalia, but it’s all so ineffectual, so bland, so inane, it makes perennial radio A-listers Two Door Cinema Club sound like an avant garde art installation.
It’s almost as if the songs were constructed by way of algorithm. The forced atmospherics of opener ‘The 1975’ and ‘An Encounter’, the emo-pop ‘Hey! Hey!’ that repeats itself throughout, the 80s guitars (and groansomely cliched lyrics) of ‘Girls’. It makes even Healy’s British glottal stops feel forced; as if somehow they’ve been bestowed upon him to seem more ‘real’. The “fuck” in ‘Sex’ somehow arbitrary, added only for effect; a lyrical second-hand leather jacket.
However confusing the whole thing, to call ‘The 1975’ a strange beast would be to suggest it had a discernible personality. It doesn’t. Even magnolia paint looks like a Pride flag next to this.
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