It’s “It is time to rebel,” promises Greta Thunberg on the opening track of The 1975’s ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’, before ‘People’, a spike, nu-metal collision of aspiration and frustration that sees the band ditch their neon pop- polish, takes that instruction to heart. And while the rest of ‘Notes’ veers away from grand statements and political outrage, it does see The 1975 at their most rebellious.
For years, The 1975 - or Matty, anyway - believed that they were the best band in the world and with 2018’s ‘A Brief Inquiry...’, it was a difficult stance to argue with. However ‘Notes’ refuses to do the expected. Rather than a record of arena-ready pomp or radio-friendly bangers, it explores the state of things witha quiet introspective smile. If you didn’t like The 1975 before, this isn’t the album that will convert you. But, full of surprises and with a now or never lust for more, ‘Notes’ is the perfect The 1975 album for right now.
With a reflective Matty dwelling on the mistakes of his past, trying to make sense of the anxiety-inducing world around him and sure of the power of other people, the lyrics flicker between comforting warmth and icy abandon while the music skips from instrumental bliss, glitching electronica and folksy Americana. It’s a lot, but The 1975 are at their best when they embrace excess.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, no one comes close to inspiring emotion like The 1975. On paper, ‘Notes’ is ripe for disaster. A delayed, 22 track album that longs to do something new with every track from a band trying to follow-up their most successful album, The 1975 painted a target on their backs long ago. In reality, though, ‘Notes’ celebrates everything that’s brilliant about this group. Chasing excitement down rabbit holes and with a sense of gleeful freedom, ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ is a lot of things all at once, but it’s never boring.