New album misses its mark

Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit

The 1975’s release of “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It,” marked the introduction of their second album in the band’s 14-year history.

The British alternative rock band had been content with live performances until 2012 when they began releasing extended plays (EPs) and singles with their first studio album, “The 1975,” becoming available in 2013.

The album contains 17 songs, many of which the band has previously released. The 11 new songs did not change the direction of the band since they were of the same genre as the rest of their previously released songs. This lack of innovation was, however, not a bad thing, as the band is just starting to gain listeners and needs to define their sound before branching out into making one-off songs in other styles.

The 1975 might have a bland sound, but if their listeners pay attention, the band has some interesting pieces with regard to their lyrics. One song in particular deals more bluntly with loss than is usual for this type of music.

“Nana” features lead vocalist Matthew Healy stretching the limits of rhyming in his lament to his significant other whom he trusted a doctor to save, “but he couldn’t, so you died.” From here, the lyrics venture into a surreal landscape for the sake of the rhythm and rhyme. At one point, e.g. the singer mentions that he wishes to borrow some fleece from his dad or from Denise.

The rest of the songs follow the same pattern, lacing words together to create an interesting meaning that approaches coherence while lending themselves to the beat of the music.

In a related vein, perhaps the most noteworthy property of this band’s music is that the lyrics are intelligible without the need to reference a lyrics sheet. The lead singer has mastered the art of pronunciation to a degree that other singers tend to lack, allowing the listener the chance to enjoy the odd wording and actually ponder the lyrics instead of merely nodding along without comprehension.

Such intelligible lyrics point to the possibility that the odd wording is intentional and that the band is attempting to force their audience to interpret the abnormal words as opposed to the popular method of lyric writing in which lyrics have but one interpretation and a dearth of outlandish words.

Of course, this line of thinking can only go so far, as some songs, such as the title song, have sparse lyrics with no uncommon words or strange rhymes. This song, in fact, has little novel about it.

With these two types of songs, The 1975 has held itself back. If all had lyrics like “Nana,” then this band would indeed have found their unique sound; as is, these songs seem to simply be placeholders.

This album might make for good background music when trying to concentrate on something else since most of its tracks are not quite engaging enough to stand on their own.