The lead single from forthcoming album Notes On A Conditional Form is punk rock performed at an improv comedy night.
The 1975’s newest fails on every level; as lead single it’s dull and short, as commentary it’s muddled. They have the best intentions, but some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions. The 1975 going punk will certainly be up there.
Beneath a Marilyn Manson wig and layers of hideous vocal distortion Matty Healy can’t conceal his love of dada wordplay, which backfires horribly here. The marmite reaction he seems to evidence in people is precisely because he hinges between genuine insight and bellicose nonsense. This isn’t a bug it’s a feature, and usually one to be celebrated. However his Ritalin-deprived lyrical runs don’t rub well at all against the jet-black soundscape of one-note distorted guitars. It all feels very forced, very try-hard, and genuinely pretty embarrassing.
This is almost certainly a stunt, akin to Muse’s (impossibly poorly made) ‘dubstep‘ reveal ahead of The 2nd Law, and probably not a reflection of what this new album will sound like. However The 1975 are certainly capable of a grittier sound. ‘Sex‘ is a live staple precisely because of its intense, guitar driven sound and breakup theatrics, and the lead-off from their previous album ‘Give Yourself A Try‘ was a stark but brilliant diversion in sound.
Both of those songs have infinitely more to say than ‘People’, which addresses its eco-social complaints with blunted fury. I guess you could call it direct, but it’s plain unimaginative. There are ways of communicating anger and protest in a way that’s memorable, and, whisper it, tuneful. ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries is a perfect example of that.
This is a miss, plain and simple. A tougher look isn’t beyond The 1975. A rawer sound isn’t beyond them either. But pretending to be Idles certainly is.