Rod Liddle

Skates on the edge of parody: The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form reviewed

Matty Healy, the middle-class skag-head prophet and grandstanding ass, is back with a fine album – if you ignore the execrable lyrics

Skates on the edge of parody: The 1975's Notes on a Conditional Form reviewed
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Grade: B+

Just what you wanted. An opening track that matches banal piano noodling to an address by Greta Thunberg. Followed by a hugely unconvincing stab at tuneless industrial metal on a song called ‘People’, in which the aforementioned — me and you, not them, of course — are cautioned to ‘WAKE UP!!’ Leafy Wilmslow’s middle-class skag-head prophet, Matty Healy, is back, then, with a series of injunctions for us all, spread over interminable length and always skating on the very edge of parody. The 1975 are probably Britain’s biggest ‘rock’ band — those quote marks are needed — and this vast slab of pretentious, gullible, vacuous commendations to us all went straight in at number one. The man is an endlessly credulous, grandstanding ass and nowhere near as bright as he considers himself to be.

And yet if you can wade through the portentous and superfluous synths, the bolt-on atmospherics, the Floydish prog orchestrations, the cringey nods to hip hop, the flatulent song titles, the mushy soft-rock — if you can get past all that — there are some pleasures to be had. ‘Guys’ is a cute Dandy Warholish guitar pop song; ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’ is pure folk, ‘Nothing Revealed’ a piece of soft soul that meanders into EDM. There’s even a winning kind of boogie on ‘Roadkill’ and a nod to Britpop on ‘Me and You Together Song’. There is no doubt about it: they can write songs and when they keep the arrangements simple the melodies shine through.

At a quarter of the length this might have been a fine album — the always execrable lyrics aside, that is. Now wake up, you morons. We’re all going to die.