Notes On A Conditional Form is out via Dirty Hit/Polydor/Interscope
Notes On A Conditional Form, the highly-anticipated fourth studio album by Manchester-based quartet The 1975, is finally out. While it was never easy to put them into a box, push everything you believed about their sound aside, and you’ll appreciate their new record. It sees The 1975 at their most experimental and has material that can’t be compared to any of their prior releases. It’s not a thematically consistent album, but it asks relevant questions and is very much what the band promised it to be and more. The record was supposed to be an end of an era but has instead created an entire life of its own.
Following A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, lead singer Matty Healy teased they were working on their next album. The 22-track album was recorded over the past two years in several countries and even within a makeshift studio in the back of the band’s tour bus. Over the past few months, The 1975 teased fans with releases like “The 1975,” which features the voice of Greta Thunberg backed by an ambient track. It was then followed by the punk rock track, “People.”
After the two previously released singles arrives “The End (Music For Cars),” an orchestral interlude that creates an evident contrast between “People” and what happens later on the album. The record sees the band returning to their original soundscape, as evidenced by the reinvention of their track “HSNCC.” The song first appeared on their 2013 EP, Music For Cars. This piece is just one of the many easter eggs this album holds for longtime fans.
One of the most exciting singles the band shared before the album is “Frail State Of Mind,” which showcases Healy talking about his mental health. The instrumental track, “Streaming” follows and beautifully melts into the melodies of yet another single, “The Birthday Party.” While some might question the amount of released material ahead of the album, Healy stated he doesn’t think in singles but instead just wanted to continuously put music out leading up to the album’s release date.
“The Birthday Party” shows another side of the band and deepens the complexity of the collection with its country-influenced melodies. The group is very much focused on “genre-bending” rather than defining their sound, which is fully evidenced by the diversity in the track’s sounds. Parts of the record show the band reaching back to their “Manchester sound,” as described by Matty Healy. “Yeah I Know” is an ambient song featuring the same couple of sentences and “Shiny Collarbone” highlights Jamaican dancehall legend Cutty Ranks. At the same time, the band takes yet another step to reach for unexpected sounds.
The album features another cinematic instrumental, “Having No Head,” made by the band’s drummer and co-producer, George Daniel. Another country-influenced song, “Roadkill,” instantly pulls you into a classic American feeling, and another previously released single “Me & You Together Song” has the vibes of a 90s teen movie.
Overall some of the album’s definite highlights are “I Think There’s Something You Should Know,” “Nothing Revealed/Everything Denied,” which features a live gospel choir, and the groovy “Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy),” which samples The Temptations. Slower tracks include “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” and “Playing On My Mind,” both featuring soft acoustic guitars and fellow artist Phoebe Bridgers helping out with supporting vocals.
“What Should I Say” and “Bagsy Not In Net” both see the band experimenting with voice effects and continues to show just how much The 1975’s sound is evolving. To finish the album, the last two tracks are both slower ones, “Don’t Worry” is a song Tim Healy, Matty’s dad, wrote when the singer was just a toddler and “Guys” being a love song for friendship.
With a hefty 22-track release, The 1975 not only takes a major step away from defining themselves but also in exploring a fascinating blend of multiple genres. From peaceful interludes to country-infused alt-rock, they push the boundaries of their influences while still spotlighting their Manchester-rich sound. It not only makes for a must-hear album but simply one of their best and most diverse. Stream Notes On A Conditional Form below.