The 1975 returned at the back-end of last month with their second studio album, delivering a solid 17 track collection to fans who have been chomping at the bit to get new music ever since the release of the group's self-titled LP back in 2013.
Kicking things off with a short introductory piece, the album really gets going with 'Love Me', their hugely successful single which would go well in any club for the hundreds on the dancefloor. It's trippy, mysterious, and at times hilarious. Basically, it's the group taking the piss out of celebrity culture and society's obsession with fame.
'She's American' is a huge highlight, enveloping the listener with an addictive chorus and infectious melodies which weave themselves through unique and enigmatic vocal ability. Make sure to keep an ear out for the sax solo - it's worth every second. By following this tune with the poignant 'If I Believe You', the band have done a brilliant job of showcasing just how they can adapt to a variety of genres without bordering themselves with certain constrictions. This is gospel with a twist with a choir and frontman Matty's pleading with a higher power to make 'it' (pain and suffering) stop.
'The Sound' is another gem. It's where the band seem to really find their footing and because of that, their attitude and personality shines through.
Sometimes there is a little bit too much brooding. 'Please Be Naked' and 'Lostmyhead' go on for perhaps a minute or two too long but it's understandable that without the amount of time they're given, the full effect of being transported to a fantasy world would not be given. After almost 10 minutes though, the band are back to brilliance.
'Somebody Else' is just a gorgeous piece. Not much else can be said other than it's one of those songs you have to listen to, preferably alone and with a pair of headphones, to really FEEL and become one with.
In fact, headphones and a quiet room are probably something you'll need to really immerse yourself within the entire collection. Sometimes levels can feel a little off-balance, such as in the album's title track, and you'll be strained to hear some of the words bubbling under the production.
Whilst grabbing your headphones, you may also want to pick up a few tissues for your first listen of 'Nana'. Singing about the death of his grandma, Matty continues to allow his own vulnerabilities to flood into his music. He confesses his knowing that 'God doesn't exist', but that doesn't stop him from hoping his Nana 'can hear me sometimes'. He closes the track: 'I'm bereft, you see / I think you can tell / I haven't been doing too well.'
Emotional times lie ahead in final acoustic track 'She Lays Down', focusing on his mother Denise Welch's postnatal depression. 'When I go to sleep / It's like she begins to weep / She's appalled by not loving me at all', he croons. The LP's end may be a sad one but the ambition within these last few songs are astronomical.
What we can say for certain with this record is that as a whole, it is one where the people behind it, from the bandmembers in The 1975 to the producers, mixers and so forth, all put their heart and soul into their work. They're not interested in producing manufactured pieces of content that they know will be successful on the charts and instead maintain integrity throughout.
They're experimental and better off for it. Instead of being categorised as just another band trying to make it in the world, The 1975 are being celebrated for being different. They dare to break the mould and for that should be applauded. Matty especially should be thanked for allowing us into some of his deepest, darkest moments.
The 1975's 'I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it', is out now.