This 1975 article was written by Simon Carline, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
You might have followed The 1975 since their days of not being able to pick a god damn name, or during their run of four revered EPs as hits that would appear on another possible entry point – their self-titled debut – were catching the mainstream’s attention. Wherever you’re placed on this timeline, there’s always been a sense of inevitability about this band. They were going places someday and most folk who knew that would happily tell anyone that was willing to listen.
It is then, perhaps, that near-certitude of creating a lasting legacy that affords these indie pop poster boys a freedom. A freedom to create a bold, 75-minute-long album and not shirk at all at the thought of giving the sixteen-word title of ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.’
Opening with the first of a few discography throwbacks with a shinier version of their self-titled song, The 1975 are making a statement. This is a new, colourful version of the band: out with the monochrome, and in with the pink.
The lead single ‘Love Me’ is the epitome of that stylistic shift, liberally pulling from numerous ’70s and ’80s hits. The singles keep coming with the funk-pop of ‘UGH!’ referencing substance abuseà la ‘Chocolate,’ before ‘A Change of Heart’ slows things down whilst making lyrical references to their other singles, ‘The City’, ‘Robbers’ and ‘Sex’, all of which indicate that Matt Healy has moved on.
A true highlight of ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ emphatically follows that hit-filled run. Not only does ‘She’s American’ sound like a classic, it sounds like it could have been a classic for Whitney Houston. Now, you might be thinking that isn’t what you want from an ‘indie’ record, but, with the sprinkling of The 1975’s magic-pop dust, it really is. It gleams from start to finish and builds brilliantly on their debut’s poppier moments.
From here The 1975 could have phoned it in. That’s enough hits, right? It is, but that isn’t their style. The gospel-tinged ‘If I Believe You’, a song about Healy’s atheism segues into a semi-instrumental interlude before the gospel choir returns to signal the next passage. It’s at this point where they either truly entice a listener or potentially lose their attention.
Stick with it; the next stretch features two of the LPs strongest songs. ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’ is a self-deprecating look at Healy’s vulnerability in handling fame and ‘Somebody Else’, arguably their most refined song to date, paints a vivid picture of falling out of love as it sends shivers down the spine with the chorus of “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else. Our love has gone cold; You’re intertwining your soul with somebody else”. Wow.
The title track, at six minutes long, serves as another semi-instrumental prelude to a run of poppier numbers. Recent piano-pop single ‘The Sound’ is the biggest shining light in the latter reaches of the album whilst ‘This Must Be My Dream’ harks back to the ’80s and comes complete with a saxophone solo.
The most surprising element of ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ comes with its closing pair of tender, acoustic songs in ‘Nana’ and ‘She Lays Down’. Unlike anything we’ve heard from the four piece, they dial down the lush pop sounds for something altogether more gentle.
There will be those that will argue this album could be trimmed of its interludes and slower numbers in order to make it more concise. There is a small case for that but it would miss the point. Sure, The 1975 are now mastering their indie pop art but they don’t want you to forget their sonically diverse roots; it’s too their credit that they haven’t either.
‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It’ is out now via Dirty Hit.
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