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Album Review: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

Updated: May 24



'Notes On A Conditional Form' allows the listener to escape lockdown for 80 minutes through pure sonic self-indulgence. The 1975 - who have aptly just launched a "digital detox" experience for fans with their 'Mindshower' website - created their fourth studio album pre-Covid-19, but the timely instrumental interludes soothe like therapeutic Dolphin music - who doesn't need that right now?

Although the radical record has divided opinion among critics, frontman Matt Healy accepts his art is not for everyone.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, he stated: "I’m not an avocado – not everyone thinks I’m amazing."

And that's why he's not afraid to put out a 22-track record that jumps and jolts between genres, from hip-hop, house, space rock, country, and everything in-between.

Highlights include trippy organ-led 'Yeah I Know' - unlike anything Healy and co have presented during their 18-year career - and 'Nothing Revealed/ Everything Denied', which starts out as a jazzy piano ballad lifted by a hair-raising gospel chorus, before it turns a corner as Healy's auto-tuned vocals interject, followed by a rap section and a funky Prince-esque guitar solo.

Healy also drops in a throwback to 'Love It If We Made It' from previous record 'A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships' - the first in the 'Music for Cars' two-parter - with the line: "I never f***ed in a car, I was lying."

The former track's first line goes: "We're f***ing in a car, shooting heroin", which you'd naturally assume to be true, as Healy has battled an addiction to the hard drug. There's a couple of nods to its sister record, as the single 'Frail State of Mind' is practically a stripped-back carbon copy of 'TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME'.

‘Shiny Collarbone' is a bizarre reggae-infused club assortment, followed by fan-favourite 'If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)' - which echoes back to the band's 'Chocolate' era, with epic drums from sticksman George Daniel and a rather satisfyingly-sensual saxophone.

Although there is a great deal of fresh experimentation throughout 'NOACF', there's plenty of 1975 nostalgia that longtime fans can pick out like Easter eggs. Lyrically, as ever, Healy is not afraid to overshare, but he always makes sure to add a tongue-in-cheek element to his confessions.

Take track six, 'The Birthday Party', where he admits to not being able to go for a number two in a hotel room if someone else is there.

Maybe on the next record he'll deny this, too?


For Fans Of: Everything

Rating: 8/10

Release Date: 22.05.20