For a good while, Britain’s The 1975 have blended together pop hooks with dance touches into a sound that’s marked with alternative rock elements. As with any band that’s getting as big as the band has gotten, there’s been some bumps in the road as they steer their sound closer to pop and away from catchy rock. With their latest record Notes On A Conditional Form the band delivers more rock than pop, while seemingly never finding the center within their own sound.
Unfortunately for the band, no one involved sa a pandemic coming. What’s that really mean? Well for starters the album overreaches a bit. The songs play well in a normal Summer setting and not in a world of uncertainty where we have to scold people for not wearing a mask in public spaces. It’s also long in that it’s not just twenty-two tracks long, but the run time is over eighty minutes. The upside is that fans of the band from over the time they’ve been together will be pleased, because there’s a bit of everything they’ve done in the past here. The downside is that it feels like some of that could have been scaled back.
Within all of this, there are definite highlights. “People”has all of the intense energy and searing rock the band can muster, “Yeah I Know” has these wonderful electronic sounds that help steer it into a world of break beat pop and “Nothing Revealed/Everything Denied” seems to almost revel in its piano based sound while showing another side to the band. But the favorite and most centered sounding track of the whole release comes on “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” featuring Phoebe Bridgers. The honest and not overproduced sound mixed with Bridgers tender voice takes the track to new places without sounding out of place on the release.
Notes On A Conditional Form is ready to purchase in multiple formats and bundles from Dirty Hit/Interscope Records. It’s also ready to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase digitally from all online music retailers.
Image Credits: Photo by Mara Palena.