A number one album, a tour that has almost entirely sold out…could this band be the future of 80s-sounding nu-gaze electronica, should such a thing exist?
Venue: Rock City
Date: September 18, 2013
Sometimes it takes very little for a band to hit the right jetstream at the right time. Then, suddenly, they’re en vogue, bang on trend, and everyone and their Mondeo-driving uncle wants a piece of them (see also Bastille).
Wilmslow’s The 1975 have managed to ride that jetstream all the way from nowheresville to The Big Time, with the hit single ‘Chocolate’ largely responsible for their rapid success story.
With an album nestling smugly at number one and a sell-out crowd at Rock City, can the band live up to the lofty expectations that have been thrust upon them and carry the weight of the zeitgeist on their young shoulders?
Well largely yes. There’s a real love affair for their brand of breathless, impassioned neo synth-pop and nu-gaze currently.
Their sound is rich and smooth, built on post-noise-pop foundations, but with a slinky touch. Think The Big Pink with a polished edge.
As the band enter the stage to total adoration, lead singer Matt Healy swigs from a bottle of wine amidst a simplistic backdrop of neon narrow goalposts before careering directly into crowd pleaser ‘The City’, which sets the tone for their bass-heavy 80s electro oeuvre.
Choice cuts from their all-encompassing album follow, and the crowd’s ebullience never falters. They lap up the band’s triumphant outlay, jump to every beat, sway to every sample and melt to every vocoder-heavy vocal.
‘Talk’ is like a Paul Simon b-side dripping with scuzz; its Afro-beat core dissolving around Healy’s pained vocals, while ‘Girls’ froths with adolescent mayhem, cavorting and flirting suggestively.
They allow playful melodies to intertwine like horny slinkys, and portray a crepuscular, seductive 80s vibe expertly throughout.
And then it drops. ‘Chocolate’ – the ace in their pack. Calypso hooks of a Friendly Fires nature merge with a rythem that draws comparisons from two alarmingly disparate bands as The Kooks, and – go with this reference – Fall Out Boy. Seriously, it’s a mash of styles put through the pop blender to form a silky elixir of slender-pop.
The encore showcases recent single ‘Sex’, a song which oozes sordid sludge-core; its overarching topic promiscuously feeling its way around a dirty synth line and some feral drumming. “She’s got a boyfriend anyway”, bemoans Matt, as if that poses no barrier to his sordid intentions whatsoever.
Dark, foreboding yet totally plugged into the zeitgeist, The 1975 are going places. Their name suggests bygone times, but the band maybe the future of 80s-sounding nu-gaze electronica, should such a thing exist.