In 2018, The 1975 released another huge record for the band; thus, when there was talk of new music from the artist: fans went nuts. Let’s dive into the make to see if all the hype was worth it. At first glance, it is notable that the band did their fans justice in terms of the wait time for this record: the band put out an album with 22 tracks. A record with this much content could steer both ways, good or bad, which works oddly with this release. As one listens to this album it is heard that the band is driving with two very separate sounds: a new coffee-shop meets acoustic meets modern pop influenced sound and a variated twist to their characteristic sound. The first sound approach provides listeners with tunes that drive with a repetitive baseline, which allows the vocals to take the forefront with minimal shifts in harmony and instrumentals. During these moments, the band toys with a variety of vocal timbres to provide contrast on the work, but other than the vocals- everything else remains rather stagnant. On the other side of the spectrum, the band provides music that resonates with an atmospheric vibe. These tracks drive with chordal movement that creates a soundscape that supports vocal lines that just float and glisten overtop the instrumentation. This contrast between styles makes it feel as if The 1975 took two different albums and merged them into one. This connects to their title “Notes On A Conditional Form”, ironically, for each track fits into the model in a conditional manner; meaning, each selection could stand alone, or they find a way to intertwine and work in the mix of this record. Overall, I am giving this album a 3.75 out of 4 stars. This record is hard to articulate, for half of it feels memorable and exciting, but the other half feels distracted and aloof. In general, the music found on the work is solid, but some of it is an acquired taste.
“Then Because She Goes”, “Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied”, and “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”
As talked about in the general review, the majority of this record drives with a house, coffee shop feel, which verges away from the band’s characteristic, atmospheric sound. These tunes stick out amongst the pack, for they are the are the tunes that mix the band’s previous sound with major influences from the new musical approaches heard throughout this album. Although this record is lengthy, I would recommend checking the whole build out to get the full experience because each track on this album is quite different, but if you just want a taste: I would start here.
When first glancing at the album artwork, it is notable that the aesthetic screams The 1975; thus, with the initial impression: people will be dying to dig in. The cover gives off a nostalgia meets modern RCA vibe to it with mixed horizontal and vertical lines. The primarily color scheme of the cover is black and white, but a portion of the front shines with a stripe of yellow, which highlights the band’s name. Now, let’s dive in to see if the cover matches the tunes that fall on the inside. When listening to the record, the majority of the tracks resonate with a light and airy tone, which connects to the pop of yellow that the band provides on the front cover. Additionally, The 1975 blasts the mixture between the nostalgic and modern RCA vibe through the mixed sounds heard throughout the make. Since the band provides a plethora of music that feels divided in terms of sound, the split influence in terms of art drives home the notion of having the mixture of selections that the band provides to create the experience that is this album. In general, I would say that the two work well apart, but together, they emphasize the shifting of sound that the band provides through this release.
*”Notes On A Conditional Form” was released on May 22nd, 2020 through Dirty Hit, Polydor and Interscope Records.