Nobody is going to accuse The 1975 of pandering to fans. Though some might accuse Matt Healy and co. of trying to overload them. The British indie superstars’ monumentally ambitious fourth full-length Notes On a Conditional Form — the wildly anticipated sequel to their late 2018 knockout A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships — is the sort of disc that makes its predecessor (not to mention recent releases from their peers and competitors) look like a fluffy pop lark. Over the sprawling course of 22 songs and 80 minutes, the freewheeling, ever-changing epic furiously pinballs unpredictably between sounds, styles and sonic settings. Boisterous post-punk and sunny indie-pop, experimental electronica and earthy roots, arty rock and ambient soundscapes, ’80s synth-pop and earnest folk, gospel and Greta Thunberg speeches; it’s all here, along with plenty more. And as usual, most of it is every bit as creative, cool compelling as it is confounding and challenging — sorta like Radiohead, but if they cracked a smile and cranked out an unironic house track every once in a while. Not surprisingly, the boldly unclassifiable album ends up feeling more like a shuffled playlist than a pointed, focused work. Then again, maybe all that eclecticism and diversity is the point. Who knows? Maybe Healy. So go ask him. You ask me, all I know is that Notes On a Conditional Form should keep their fans occupied until The 1975 decide what form their next album should take. As if they could ever settle on just one.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “The 1975 deliver the followup to BRIT Award Album of the Year winner A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The band’s fourth album Notes On A Conditional Form is set to be already the most anticipated album of 2020 and features the lead single People and the Greta Thunberg call-to-arms album opener The 1975. The band are working to reduce as much plastic as possible on the manufacture of product, as such the albums will not be shrink-wrapped.”