I only just gave the 1975 a chance last year, because I’d dismissed them after being unimpressed with their SNL performance a few years prior, but I was roped in by Brief Inquiry. Since then I’d been anticipating the singles they’d been dropping, and wasn’t disappointed—with the run of “People”, “Frail State of Mind”, “Me & You Together Song” coming out sequentially, they couldn’t have made the upcoming album look more promising.
The release of Notes on A Conditional Form was pushed back multiple times, and knowing going it that it was 22 tracks and 80 minutes long, I was skeptical. I was especially worried when the pre-release reviews started rolling in and some places were giving very poor reviews, calling it aimless.
Thankfully, though, it wasn’t a disappointment. Unfortunately, NOACF does suffer from OSS (outstanding single syndrome), but the album tracks weren’t so far behind the singles to make it a failure. It’s got a lot of filler, but in the best way possible—5 of the tracks (about 20 minutes) are instrumentals or, for lack of a better term, compositions, that make an album ranging from trip-hop to Britpop manage to flow rather than feel jarring. If you listened to the singles in isolation it might seem like they all have different moods, but with the instrumentals the album has a night-time feel, the way Matt Healy said it would in the interviews prior to the release.
Love them or hate them, Notes on A Conditional Form proves that the 1975 are a class act. The fact that Notes works just further shows, to me, my theory that the 1975 are our generation’s successor to Radiohead and the Beatles. Regardless of how you feel about them, they have the same grand ambitions and scale of interest those bands showed, and even followed a similar career arc from discounted pop act to critically acclaimed artists.