One thing’s pretty evident from the get-go: The 1975 are master wind-up merchants. For a start, there’s that title: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, obnxious in itself and yet clearly a self-aware move from a band who know they’re already quite easy to loathe. Then there’s the length of 17 tracks. SEVENTEEN, as if they’re going to run out of things to say beyond this record. And then there’s a self-aggrandising opener called The 1975, almost rolling out the red-carpet for themselves because they know no one else will.
And hey, let it no longer be said that no good can (literally) come out of Denise Welch. Because although a lot of the above grievances do come from Matty Healy’s excruciating effort to be disliked (which we deliberately don’t want to play into), it also helps that a lot of the band’s charm on this record rests on his charisma. Love Me and UGH! both shimmer with indie-pop confidence of an international standard, so much so that it becomes harder to forgive blander missteps like A Change Of Heart. Which then goes back to the air-punch joy of She’s American. It’s like flitting from St. Lucia to One Direction to M83 with no warning, before things take almost a psych-rock turn in the mid-section.
There are genuine moments of brilliance on The 1975’s new album – If I Believe You feels almost near unquantifiable, a leap of madness that pays off in remarkably inventive style, a song called Please Be Naked eschews the laddish expectation for a cosmic instrumental – but there’s just so much in the pot here (most of it good, mind you) that the band could really do with some refinement. Keep The Sound, keep Somebody Else, and lose guff like Paris, Loving Someone, and Nana. Without these self-indulgent frills The 1975 could have set a benchmark for indie, but it’s pretty fair to say that even with them they still have one of the most barmy and characterful records the year is likely to see.