Band of the Week: The 1975

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So long to those working class bands that paved the way for the 90s Britpop, say hello to the eccentric posh boys of pop that are rocking the 21st century.

By Megan Russell

The 1975 shot to fame with their self-titled debut album, released on the 2nd September 2013, causing controversy with their hit single ‘Chocolate’ which coincidently made its way to the most played single on Radio One that year.

The band had huge backing from Radio One even from the early days. Leaked single ‘The City’, from the band’s first EP, Facedown, was featured on the BBC Introducing show with Huw Stephens in 2012. Then later that year, Radio One DJ Zane Lowe raved about their explicit single ‘Sex’ from the eponymous EP.

Their follow-up album, ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’, released 26th February 2016, equally matched, if not bettered, the first album. Indeed, it topped the UK and US Billboard 200 and even went on to win the Q Awards best album of the year.

The band originate from Wilmslow, Cheshire and consists of four lifelong friends: Matthew Healy (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Adam Hann (lead guitar), Ross MacDonald (bass), and George Daniel (drums). The boys attended Wilmslow High School and have been playing together as teenagers since 2002.

The raw understated tones alongside Matty’s high-pitched voice and slight Mancunian accent makes for the band’s easily recognisable sound. An honest lyrical approach to this wonderfully weird music takes us back to bands such as the Twang and Manchester’s prestigious Oasis, both of whom embraced their accents. Whilst his voice isn’t considered the strongest, Healy uses it to his full potential and the notes that aren’t critically perfect work so well with the quirkiness and pitchiness of the band’s undertones.

There is quite a distinct musical theme throughout the two albums but each is quite different from the other. Whilst the 1975 debut album offers punchy upbeat sounds of lust, drugs and scandal their second album proposes a more relaxed melody of love, heartbreak and confusion.

The majority of the singles are sung in third person but we, as the audience, identify that the struggles are with Matty and the band themselves. The use of third person creates a story that progresses on as each song is played, and acts as Matthew Healy’s split personality. We see this portrayed in the ‘Change of heart’ video where we see him dressed as a clown.

Most recently, The 1975 performed at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom in October of this year. This was as part of the finale of Live Lounge month hosted by BBC Radio One. The band played alongside the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which created an almost magical atmosphere that intertwined the harmonic sounds of the orchestra with the pop-rock of The 1975.

Healy said, “I was crying today, at times, the orchestra really makes the up moments more celebratory and the down moments more introspective and melancholy. It’s the first time I’ve wanted to do another run through of a soundcheck. It was incredible.”

The enchanting backdrop of Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom played the perfect part of a concert hall for this unique gig. Venturing out from its usual dance background, the historical building and its flamboyant retro décor somehow seemed to accentuate the electricity of the night. Also, the clever use of neon lighting against the historical hand crafted architecture and beautifully painted murals created something very much like art.

The 1975 are due to tour the UK again in December of this year. For tickets and more information, visit the band’s website.

Do you have a favourite band that could feature in our Band of the Week slot? Send your review to HumanityHallows.Editor@gmail.com

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