The Listener

1975 was a great year for pop – worthy of a better band than The 1975

1 December 2018

9:00 AM

1 December 2018

9:00 AM

Grade: C

A derided year in pop music, 1975 — and yet a great one. The mainstream was horrible, but we had Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night, Patti Smith’s Horses, Guy Clarke’s Old No. 1 and Television just beginning to break through. It is in the lacunae, before the next big wave, that we hear the most inventive music, which is why ’75 — with Queen and disco hogging the charts and the blind alleys of prog and metal as your only alternative — was so good. But I suppose you want to hear about the band, The 1975 — one of Britain’s biggest.

Oh, Britain. The 1975 are a bunch of middle-class Mancs led by a gobby SJW junkie — hell, what’s not to like. Their last album, which sounded like a conference call between Duran Duran and Prefab Sprout, was entitled: I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware (yes, of course she’s unaware, she’s asleep, you sinister dickweed). I couldn’t stand it, although there were hooks aplenty in among the 1980s mush. And they think they’re ‘indie’. What does that mean any more?

The latest also pillages the 1980s but is even more in thrall to turn-of-the-century corporate R&B. There’s a pleasing ur-Motown thump on ‘Love It If We Made It’, and I like the collapsed cocktail jazz start to ‘Sincerity Is Scary’. ‘TooTimeTooTimeTooTime’ catches the ear well enough: they are not quite devoid of a melodic sensibility. But much of the rest washes over you like a cheap shower gel.

Hey — I forgot Blood On The Tracks. Great year, then. Worthy of a better band than this.

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