The self-titled UK smash debut from Manchester band the 1975, came bearing down like a mashup of a marketable “boy band” raised on pop-emo and the buzzsaw guitar rock of the early ’00s. They could write better and more distinctive songs than most of their contemporaries. For some critics, their musical DNA was a step too far in the wrong direction, and felt prepackaged, but their youthful fan base burgeoned.
The highly anticipated followup to their 2013 album is due out on February 26, complete with a ridiculous title that implies grandiosity: I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. With a confirmed 17-track lineup and clocking in well over an hour, it’s definitely a new big statement we can all be super excited and maybe just a little worried about. First returns indicate a sea change, in terms of style — welcome to many, and probably disconcerting to those who liked the, say, more Futureheads-y/Panic!-y side of the band. The reference points are all culled from the ’80s, with an arena-glam-rock energy and unabashed, even clownish sensibility. But the intensely emotional backbone and fast, aggressive vocal rhythms are still there, especially on “The Sound,” the finest track the band has released from the album thus far.
But they are all good in different way. The mutant-disco of “UGH!” beats retro-electro pop acts like Passion Pit at their own game, and “Love Me” is angular and weird, but full of a rare Top 40-ish appeal that most ’80s pop imitators don’t dare to attempt to channel. It takes not taking one’s self too seriously, and for all the confessional lyrics lead singer Matt Healy packs in, that’s a big part of what the 1975 do so well.
Sample all the other leaks and more 1975 information below, and prepare for the polarizing band to release an album that will force you to stop ignoring them.
Some live audio of new songs: