Fair to say that The 1975’s forthcoming album Notes On A Conditional Form is sounding all over the place. The singles released thus far have ranged from terrible (‘People‘), to middle-of-the-road (‘Frail State of Mind’) to brilliant (‘You & Me Together Song’).
‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ is good pop, and guaranteed Radio 1 fodder, but we have definitely been here before.
The boxy drums and self-depreciating lyrics about an online relationship between Matty and (most likely) an oblivious e-girl is pretty familiar, though still charming. The lean into sheer 80s road rock hasn’t been this obvious since ‘Heart Out‘, which is broadly familiar and also lies astride a fat electronic bassline.
The guitars twang a lá 80s doomers The Cure & Tears for Fears, and The 1975 return to the shiny surfaces and fresh sound for which they are best know. You wont find a speck of grime or dirt here: they’ve Mr Sheen’d the shit out of every instrument, and the spaces between them too. For those enjoying the band’s latest experiments out of type, that’ll come as a disappointment. I for one am glad to hear more of this stuff.
However you know something has gone wrong when the sax solo lands with an air of crushing inevitability. Considering the sheer elation when the sax presages the final chorus in ‘Heart Out’, or when the guitar cracks open ‘The Sound‘, it’s clear this won’t be a future classic. It’s solid though – one of the stronger offerings from this new album and a live staple in waiting. Perhaps. It doesn’t excel as ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ or ‘Give Yourself A Try’ (or most of that album really) did, but it is a timely reminder of how fun good pop is – and how fun The 1975 are when they go with it.