Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

The 1975 Notes on a Conditional Form

As self-indulgent as it is beautiful.

Released: 22 May 2020
Notes on a Conditional Form

The ever-polarising pop-rock phenomena dump a restless body of work, as self-indulgent as it is beautiful. With a sprawling tracklist, listless ambient stretches and layered electronic beats, it's also their least accessible album.

Drummer George Daniels' accomplished production either juxtaposes or exacerbates hot-headed frontman Matty Healy's lyrics; cloud-parting moments of clarity within a storm of ambition. Sometimes brooding, sometimes mundane, he confesses about phone sex, toilet habits and the haunting spectre of relapsing. "Now we're clean, it would seem / let's go somewhere I'll be seen"; he sings resignedly, tired of the vicious cycle of celebrity idolisation that only leads to disillusionment. "That's rich from a man who can't shit in a hotel room you've gotta share for a bit," he also throws at himself in the same song, flitting between paranoia and humour.

The 1975 are superficial eighties exploiters or chart-hopping pioneers, unoriginal or unpredictable, all depending on who you ask. Part of the fun is the amorphous nature of their identity. On standout track 'I Think There's Something You Should Know', Healy muses: "I'd like to meet myself and swap clothes", and throughout the album he shifts through a thrift store of musical inventories and 21st century aesthetics to dress Notes as his first truly unguarded record.

One such moment is the otherworldly 'Bagsy Not in Net', where he panics over suffocating reverb and a weird off-rhythm garage beat about his partner potentially departing before he does. "Do you wanna leave at the same time?", he asks sweetly, over and over. Who said pop couldn't be prayer?

Filed under: