Manchester-based collective The 1975 return with their fifth Funny in a Foreign Language. Lauded with love, it is a soft-rock pop peppering that is every bit cliché as it is concise.
From appropriating Black Lives Matter movement to promote and sell his own music to digesting raw meat on stage, frontman of shoelace noodling alternative outfit of The 1975 Matt Healey has made quite a doting impression over the past few months since Being Funny came out in early October. So I thought it would only be good to have a listen into his most recent art mood board..
While he may become somewhat of a fugitive in the world of culture, as twitter threads dart about online about ‘problematic Matty,’ he isn’t half shy making comments on his music and how impactful it is right now. “If you’re still making art in your ’30s you’re either wadded or good – and I’m both.”
Ah yes, the band that aren’t afraid to explore new experimentations, with the notion of ‘love’ always making an appearance – be it in brackets or otherwise. “I like my men like I like my coffee, full of soy milk and so sweet, it won’t offend anybody.” After their art collage of Notes on a Conditional Form was released in 2020, the band has not been able to truly portray the album at release within a live setting.
Now, paving the way for a new era, comes the elusive, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, as it swoons and careens into pockets of mischief, scornful moodiness and doting adoration. Happiness, All I Need To Hear and Oh Caroline lead the pack. Despite me hoping that they’d lean a little bit away from the exhausted discussion of love in music, it’s The 1975 quite possibly at their most troubled.
The album starts off with an introduction sample. Maybe a bit too deep into something of a sort – considering they’re five albums deep – but the violin jarrings and ambient traffic noise is a nice settlement into what to expect. Happiness sets the new era for the band as Matty cries into his mic, show me what love is. Ok, not exactly not a new era, considering the collective have been deliberating about what love is since their stimulating EP in 2012 of Sex. But, of course in the world of fluffy soft-rock pop, love sells.
Here, the raucous The 1975 show their hand that they know always works. Goopy ’80s guitar flicks, feisty drums, schmaltzy saxophones and infuriatingly good hooks. Looking For Somebody (To Love) is a funky number that is a joy to listen to, I can’t lie. But like many before it, it sounds like every song they’ve managed to stick the word ‘love’ in. A Part of the Band is an eloquent glisten as it skates over drives like a nimble contemporary, as it sets the tone and sustains the band into another avenue. Oh Caroline and I’m In Love With You tread a thin line between colour, commitment and deplorably daft that only the likes of The 1975 can pull off with their silly string at the ready.
All I Need To Hear is a walk down the creek, the hands in the pocket shuffle to the shoreline and is a much-needed change to the first half, but again, doesn’t really get us going. The best example I could give to the first 6 songs, would be like a sweet gumball that lingers in the mouth a wee bit too long, you know? *Verging on sour.* As Matty and his angelic female counterparts serenade to us in a cave in About You and the folk-pop nurturing of When We Are Together turns into the wind, I’ve found myself what musings of music I’ve been listening to…
It’s certainly1975 trademark, signed and etched on the packaging that’s for sure. With this, it is also a venture most welcomed. A bit hesitant opening at the door, but a welcome nonetheless as Matty demonstrates a lucrative 11-step solution to losing ourselves: human connection.