Album Review: The 1975 – Being Funny In A Foreign Language2 min read
If there’s one indie band that has made a huge impact on both the music industry, and music scene alike over the past ten years, it’s The 1975. Their seemingly meteoric rise after the release of singles Sex and Chocolate was propelled by the band’s already strong musicianship, and frontman Matty Healy’s driven, and borderline obsessive, need to create music. The band formed almost a decade prior to this growth, and the impact was immediate. Four albums later, they’re back with their fifth, and arguably, most cohesive album to date.
Opening with the recurring theme of self-titling the first song, this version of The 1975 feels more natural and clean, with Matty talking of the liberal and sometimes misguided youth. It sets up the sound the album perfectly, packed with flourishes of strings and brass, and noisy, spacious production. The song leads wonderfully with a huge burst of colourful saxophone and distorted guitars into lead single Happiness. The slap bass and 80s funk production pull the band back to the elements that first inspired their sound, but with tighter production, and a more hopeful lyrical angle.
Looking For Somebody (To Love) has serious action movie montage vibes. Staccato synthesisers and a pounding beat, complimented by the guitar and sax, take you to a place where the hero is shaping up for the fight of their life. Whether that was the original intention or not, it’s another example of the band wearing the 80s aesthetic on their sleeves. All I Need To Hear is a perfectly positioned quiet moment on the record, as is Human Too, providing two very different styles musically, whilst proving that The 1975 can still traverse sounds and pull it off more times that not. Along these lines, When We Are Together finishes off the album in a sweet, folky way, depicting a cute-sounding, but possibly deeply troubled relationship.
Being Funny… is another slight departure for a band who relishes on keeping themselves, and their fans, on their toes. The brass and strings throughout give this album a distinctive sound, compared with the rest of their discography. It’s a tight collection of songs, never slipping into the filler or over-bloated musicianship that their previous record fell prey to. Catchy hit after catchy hit litter the track list, whilst also allowing space for the slower numbers to shine. Lyrically, Matty shows that when he reins his creativity in and focuses, his words remain more consistent. Overall, it is arguably The 1975’s strongest record to date, or at least on par with A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.