- 28 May 20
Matty Healy delivers second consecutive masterpiece.
Even as a band of whom big things were expected, it’s fair to say The 1975 have outstripped the expectations of even their most ardent supporters. Indeed, Matty Healy and the boys have pulled off the trifecta only attained by the most elite of artists: critical acclaim, commercial success and – back in the halcyon days of large-scale events – arena-headlining status.
Having crash-landed into the major leagues with 2018’s zeitgeist-defining A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, it would have been understandable if Healy wanted to maintain a holding pattern for the follow-up. Instead, in a characteristically audacious move, he’s cashed in his chips and gone full maximalist: Notes On A Conditional Form is a 22-track odyssey into the heart of modern youth culture.
Healy’s ambition was to create an album that captured the feel of driving around Britain’s motorways at night, with the odd stop-off at McDonalds. To underpin the dystopian themes, the album would draw on underground electronic music, particularly the pioneering Hyperdub label. Healy has succeeded spectacularly in his objective: with NOACF, he has created a second consecutive classic that blows his contemporaries out of the water.
The stylistic range is phenomenal: industrial-tinged punk on ‘People’; tender balladry on ‘The Birthday Party'; skittering garage on ‘Yeah I Know’; and funky-pop on ‘Tonight I Was I Your Boy’.
For good measure, there’s also a couple of glacial orchestral interludes, biting political satire (‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’) and a state-of-the-nation address from Greta Thunberg on ‘The 1975’. The album goes stratospheric on underground club anthem ‘Shiny Collarbone’, which – in one of the cultural moments of the year – features a vocal from cult jungle artist Cutty Ranks, widely renowned as the favourite act of Fr. Father Stack in Father Ted.
With Notes On A Conditional Form, Healy has reached new artistic heights and extended The 1975’s imperial phase for another couple of years.
- Out now.