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Album Review: The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

 
By on Thursday, 25th February 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it album coverSince their dramatic exit from Facebook last year, however temporary – that turned out to be a rather effective publicity stunt, didn’t it? – The 1975 return this week with their second full-length album. It’s rather apropos that ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ itself is a mouthful, as this sophomore effort from the Manchester indie darlings contains a whopping 17 tracks, making the LP longer than most released these days. Then again, their self-titled debut in 2013 had 16 tracks. You can view this one of two ways: either the group has a lot of say and want to use the album platform to say it, or in its full 75 minutes of glory, their trouble with self-editing is evident in this exercise in self-indulgence.

Just like ‘The 1975’ before it, ‘I like it when you sleep…’ has a lot of great single moments, providing a great snapshot of what pop looks like in 2016: loads of electronic warblings, bubbly synth lines, handclaps and tacked-on backing vocals. On the singles front, the already revealed super funky ‘Love Me’ (reviewed and discussed in depth in my previous post here) and ‘UGH!’ are fantastic examples of 21st century pop. As catchy earworms with bouncy guitars, they’re the perfect antidote to this dreary winter weather, conjuring up girls in miniskirts (likely) and guys in shorts (somewhat less likely?) bopping to these melodies, come summer festival time.

Probably a fond recollection of a short-lived fling of Matthew Healy’s mixed together with a veiled commentary of America, ‘She’s American’ is as remarkable in its lyrical content as ‘Love Me’. It sports the hilarious Austin Powers-esque line in the chorus, “if she says I gotta fix my teeth, then she’s so American”. Mentions of the girl’s anorexia and perceived superiority aren’t usual pop song fodder, and the words “and I think she’s got a gun divinely decreed and custom made” speaks to this nation’s gun problem and the power of the religious right in one fell swoop.

‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’ is not a ballad of the usual variety either: it’s an opportunity for Healy to be introspective on the price of success. He muses out loud that his brain has been last seen in a Sainsbury’s where he was flirting with his fans, while bemoaning the sharp disconnect between what his public persona has done to his way of thinking and acting (recoiling from it) and what his mind really thinks about the whole ridiculous situation. If you read the comments from a lot of The 1975’s detractors, you’ll see that they’re often called pretentious twats. These kind of lyrics prove they’re anything but.

Also like the previous release, one wonders if trimming some of the fat for a leaner, meaner product would have made much more sense. A disappointment to the fans, I’m sure, but ‘Please Be Naked’ is an instrumental, as is ‘Lostmyhead’ and most of the title track, which has a jarring, dubby bridge near its end. ‘I like it when you sleep…’ also suffers from pacing that does it no favours. Slower, lounge-y numbers – ‘If I Believe You’ with its autotuned vocals, plus regret in the form of ‘80s groove ‘Somebody Else’ paired with its complement ‘Loving Someone’ – break up the momentum of the poppier moments. Near the end, a beloved grandmother is eulogized in ‘Nana’: good effort, but an odd choice in the midst of this album. The better of the more languid tracks, ‘A Change of Heart’ (1-minute preview below) has a mildly childish synth wigging and warbling away and a very basic yet mellow rhythm, while Healy expresses his 180 in feelings for a former love.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvgpsy6dJgs[/youtube]

In an interview this month with NME, Healy was asked about what he perceives is his and The 1975’s role in the music scene. “If you don’t want your art to reach people, that negates you as an artist,” says Matt. “I hate that indie band bullsh*t of acting like you don’t care so you don’t get judged about being sh*t. That’s what indie is now. That fey sense of ‘we don’t care’. Well, don’t do it then. F**k off and do something else.” While The 1975 have certainly elicited either a strong feeling of love or hate from the public, Healy knows intellectually where his band’s place in popular music is. And he’s still going write songs like he wants to and broadcast them from the pedestal they’re on. This album is proof of that. Its title seems to suggest that there is so much more below the surface of a man or a woman, but because we can’t get past the surface, we never see it. Much like how The 1975 are perceived and what they’re doing with their art.

7/10

‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’, The 1975’s second album, will be out this Friday on Dirty Hit Records. The artwork from their forthcoming album will be exhibited at two pop-up shops – one in New York City’s Lower East Side on Friday and another in London’s Leicester Square (unclear when) – and the band will also be appearing at these events.
The band will also be touring next month in the UK in support of the new album. For all things on The 1975 on TGTF, go here.

 

Video of the Moment #1980: The 1975

 
By on Monday, 21st December 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Following the premiere of ‘Love Me’ 2 months ago (read my extensive essay and thoughts about the song here), Manchester’s The 1975 have revealed another cut from their hotly-anticipated second album and follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut. Like the promo for ‘Love Me’ before it, the video for ‘UGH!’ is another colourful assault on the eyes. Is it about giving up drugs? Sex addiction? Going broke on either vice? Huh?

Guess we’re going to have to hang tight to find out after ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ lands in record shops on the 26th of February 2016 on Dirty Hit Records and we can our paws on it. In case you missed it, they have a string of live dates scheduled for March 2016 in the UK. Our extensive past coverage on The 1975 on TGTF is here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXaU0QzByIM[/youtube]

 

The 1975 / March 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 9th November 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Manchester art-pop quartet the 1975 will play a series of live dates in the UK next March, following the 26th of February 2016 release of their sophomore LP ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ on Dirty Hit/Polydor.  They recently previewed the new album with its first single ‘Love Me’, which our own editor Mary explored right back here.  You can click here to read through TGTF’s full back catalogue of coverage on the 1975.

The newly announced run of tour dates includes three nights each at the Brixton Academy in London and the Apollo in Manchester ahead of appearances in Glasgow and Birmingham.  Tickets for the following shows will be available for general sale on Friday the 13th of November at 9 AM.

Friday 4th March 2016 – London Brixton Academy*
Saturday 5th March 2016 – London Brixton Academy*
Monday 7th March 2016 – London Brixton Academy
Tuesday 8th March 2016 – London Brixton Academy
Wednesday 9th March 2016 – London Brixton Academy
Saturday 12th March 2016 – Manchester Apollo*
Sunday 13th March 2016 – Manchester Apollo
Monday 14th March 2016 – Manchester Apollo
Tuesday 15th March 2016 – Manchester Apollo
Thursday 17th March 2016 – Glasgow Academy*
Friday 18th March 2016 – Glasgow Academy
Saturday 19th March 2016 – Glasgow Academy
Sunday 20th March 2016 – Glasgow Academy*
Tuesday 22nd March 2016 – Birmingham Arena
*new dates added February 2016

 

Single Review / Essay: The 1975 – Love Me

 
By on Monday, 2nd November 2015 at 11:00 am
 

At the end of May 2015, The 1975 posted ominous messages and deleted their Facebook page. It was part and parcel of their embarking on what can be now looked back at as a brilliant marketing ploy that could only be interpreted as giving two fingers towards the very industry and fan base that had given them fame and fortune and put them on a pedestal as indie rock gods. Having watched their star steadily then meteorically rise with interest and curiosity since writing this Bands to Watch on the Manchester band 3 years ago, I was confused. Looking at this new cartoon manifesto in which Matty was depicted as a pink hostage, I asked myself, was there some kind of deeper political meaning to all of this? Or had they just finally flipped out, stardom going to their heads and destroying them? Like the rest of their fan base, albeit with less asphyxiation than their average teenybopper fan, I thought it was the end of the road for them.

Last week, the band – frontman and guitarist Matthew ‘Matty’ Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald and drummer George Daniel – returned with a video for ‘Love Me’, purported to be the first taster for their upcoming sophomore album ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’, the follow-up to their monster self-titled debut album released in autumn 2013. As if he had been anticipating the fingers wagging at him about what had happened back in May, Healy wrote the following message for the press release of ‘Love Me’:

With ‘Love Me’ we wanted to capture the neon-hued enthralling acquisition of success and excess, the screaming momentum, the sexy daze. Everything is REDICULOUS! [sic] But, is it? The only art worth any investment is art that makes one feel personally addressed. A simple truth, or set of truths, that galvanises an awareness and passion within an individual and in doing so immerses the individual into a sense of shared experience and community founded upon that same personal connection or experience. Too many artists care what others think. We are for the ‘community’! A non-linear observation on everything that has been and what will become. A lack of understanding of the world we are living in. The post-ironic notion of the modern world. Selfie mythologizing. Creating how we consume. Fragments of culture. Not settling for what you’re given. WE’VE JUST COME TO REPRESENT A DECLINE IN THE STANDARDS OF WHAT WE ACCEPT.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ5bZuUlftI[/youtube]

Listening to ‘Love Me’ takes us all back to the ’80s, a decade known for its excess, its colour, and the funky guitar feel of now classics such as INXS’ ‘New Sensation’ and Peter Gabriel’s ‘Big Time’. The overall feeling is still pop, but it’s a very different style of pop than what appeared on The 1975’s debut album. The song itself is fine: as a pop song, it’s amusing enough, but it’s not earth-shattering. I don’t think that was the intention anyway.

In both the song and the video, the band are poking fun at archetypes and lifestyle of that era – a dark- and curly-haired sex symbol wearing makeup and fronting a band (RIP Michael Hutchence); girls in loud, bright-coloured dresses looking pretty and not playing guitar (Robert Palmer’s ‘Simply Irresistible’ girls); champagne and jacuzzis. We might be 2 decades ahead of that time now, but celeb star power is stronger than ever, so why not go ahead and poke?

Directed by Diane ‘Diamond’ Martel, the video fits what the lyrics say and rather fittingly, they also match what the aforementioned cartoon back in May seemed to be doing. The 1975 are mocking the establishment and mocking all their fans who have been following them around like puppy dogs because they think celebrity and fame – what ultimately all bands want and need, in addition to getting paid and paid well – isn’t and shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all.

The problem, of course, in this era of massive consumerism, selfies and selfie sticks, and self-entitlement, isn’t this how bands achieve stardom, especially those like The 1975 who have a young fan base? There’s the additional problem of stardom by association, such as the infamous time last year Taylor Swift showed off hanging with her girlfriends, fellow pop princesses Selena Gomez and Ellie Goulding, at one of their concerts. (Yes, I groaned inwardly upon hearing about that video and knowing what it was going to do. Hey, I found them 2 years before you did. Hands off, Tay Tay! )

When I met Matt Healy at a blahblahblahscience day party on Maggie Mae’s rooftop at SXSW 2013, he thanked me for us at TGTF writing about them and like any good Northern boy I’ve ever known, he kissed my cheek when we said goodbye. I was blown away by his niceness and his charisma then and every time I’ve seen or met him since. I interviewed Healy before The 1975’s first-ever show in DC, at DC9. Scuttled away in a room, away from the maddening crowds, he was a shy, softspoken, thoughtful artist hiding under a fedora who’d just happened to given a diary with a date written out as “The 1975” and was impressed so much by that phrasing that he wanted to name his band after it. As we sat there talking, I had to wonder to myself if he and the band were ready for the fame that awaited them.

I agree completely with Healy that “The only art worth any investment is art that makes one feel personally addressed”: that is, in the context of being a music fan, you should be a fan of an artist or a band because their art, their music, their sound is what moves you, stirs up your passion inside. Reading through Healy’s words again, I think it’s to get lost in what he’s saying and also come to different conclusions.

If indeed you take his parting thought “WE’VE JUST COME TO REPRESENT A DECLINE IN THE STANDARDS OF WHAT WE ACCEPT.” at face value, doesn’t that mean, then, that the band have accepted their place in the music industry machine, that what they’re doing is making pop music and not true art? But at the same time, him writing that paragraph in the first place also suggests a coyness summed up in “Everything is REDICULOUS! [sic] But, is it?” What is ridiculous, and what is what Healy refers to as “a simple truth”? Like the human condition, the answers to those questions are different for each and every person.

All of this taken together, it’s entirely unclear what the rest of ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ will sound like. So there’s nothing else to do but wait and anticipate the release of the new album early next year.

Checkmate.

7/10

‘Love Me’, the newest single from Manchester hitmakers The 1975, is out now on Dirty Hit Records. ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’, their second album, is purported to be released in February 2016. For all of TGTF’s coverage of The 1975, go here.

 

The 1975 / November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 4th June 2015 at 8:00 am
 

After scaring to death their fans by suggesting they might be breaking up (what a coup of a publicity stunt, eh?) Manchester’s all too beloved The 1975 have revealed that instead, they have been working on evolving for their second full-length album release. With that, they’ve announced a massive November 2015 UK tour that will see them in much smaller venues than they can fill at this point in their career. A presale for these dates starts at 9 AM today here on their Facebook page, with the general sale taking place tomorrow at 9 AM.

We’ve been supporters of the 1975 since the beginning 3 years ago, so why not browse through our collection of articles on them here?

Monday 9th November 2015 – Liverpool University
Tuesday 10th November 2015 – Leicester De Montfort Hall
Wednesday 11th November 2015 – Sheffield Academy
Thursday 12th November 2015 – Doncaster Dome
Saturday 14th November 2015 – Nottingham Rock City
Sunday 15th November 2015 – Newcastle Academy
Tuesday 17th November 2015 – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Wednesday 18th November 2015 – Bridlington Spa
Thursday 19th November 2015 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Friday 20th November 2015 – Plymouth Pavilion
Saturday 21st November 2015 – Southampton Guildhall
Monday 23rd November 2015 – Southend-on-Sea Cliff Pavilion
Tuesday 24th November 2015 – London Hammersmith Apollo
Thursday 26th November 2015 – Brighton Centre
Friday 27th November 2015 – Swindon Oasis
Saturday 28th November 2015 – Manchester Academy

 

Video of the Moment #1626: The 1975

 
By on Saturday, 13th September 2014 at 10:00 am
 

The 1975‘s newest video is for new single ‘Heart Out’. A preteen version of the band plays a school talent show, recalling Wolf Alice‘s ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. See what I mean by watch the video below. Frontman Matt Healy describes what you’re watching as follows:

With the video for ‘Heart Out’ I wanted to return to the classic performance scene. I love a good performance video and wanted to try my hand at creating something that represented my grandeur and slightly deluded sense of self, whilst also adhering to the simplistic rules of a performance. The video is about narcissism, belief and delusion in equal measure. It represents how antiquated and romanticised visions of past and future shed a blazing light on the present and in turn provoke a self-analysis that soon shifts from the material to the ideological. It was in this state of excitement and obsession where the ‘Heart Out’ video was born. Obviously i can delve into the artistic vision of the video – what it means to me, the subtext and my own emotional investment within it – but in doing so I fear defacing what the video truly is about, at face value. It’s a bunch of kids who think they’re rockstars. And…they are x

In 2 weeks’ time, the 1975 are on tour in the UK.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9xA1Lvd37E[/youtube]

 
 
 

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