I feel like most The 1975 fans know where they were when they first heard the band. I was on a middle school field trip, sharing music with my friend on the bus trip over. He recommended I listen to “Sex” and “Chocolate,” and, giggling to myself at the song titles, I pressed play. I also feel like most The 1975 fans know exactly what they thought when they first heard the band: mine was “I have absolutely no idea what this guy is saying, but I like it.” Since that field trip in eighth grade back in 2013, I’ve always followed the band, and loved watching their sound evolve ever since.
Formed around 2002, The 1975 consists of Ross Lynch on bass, Adam Hann on lead guitar, George Daniels on drums, and Matty Healy on vocals and rhythm guitar. The band started out playing gigs around Cheshire, England, gaining traction until the release of their debut, self-titled album in 2013. Upon its release, The 1975 skyrocketed in popularity, their album reaching the number one spot in the United Kingdom. Along with their extreme growth in popularity in the UK came a wave of recognition around the world, too, especially in the US. In fact, I was privileged enough to see the band on their U.S. tour following their self-titled hit, where I realized there was more to them than any other band I had taken interest in for one reason: their live show.
The set design at The 1975’s shows is unlike any other band’s on the planet. The branding they use as their image is frankly genius, as their main logo is, quite simply, a square. On top of this, their debut album’s aesthetic was made entirely black and white, something that translated brilliantly into the first show I saw of theirs. Following their visual decisions were the fans, attended the show clad in the same color scheme.
The 1975’s sophomore record, “I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” cleverly implemented the exact opposite aesthetic as their debut: the cover is the exact same layout, a square, however lit up in bright pink and white instead of the monochromatic style they were known for. This change in color scheme reflected strongly in their music and live show as well: lead singles “Love Me” and “The Sound” are drowned in poppy disco production and funky guitar riffs yet are still immediately recognizable to be The 1975. As the band grew in popularity following the release of their sophomore project, so did their tours: they now had the ability to take their live experience to the next level, utilizing bigger stages with even more giant squares, more advanced background lighting, and adding both choir singers and a saxophone that replicated the studio album’s sound perfectly.
And now, a new album from the band, titled A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Their most political album yet, Matty Healy tackles topics affecting both him and, frankly, the entire rest of world including institutionalized racism, sexism, and Trump’s presidency (which I guess involves both). More mature lyric material has also come with a more mature and honed-in sound from the band, along with an even more polished and developed live performance. Even though I still can barely ever understand what Matty Healy is saying, I love it.
Be sure to get to the show this Thursday, April 25, at the WaMu Theater at 8:00pm, and make sure you don’t miss openers Pale Waves and No Rome!
MAX SLADE | i love squares | KXSU Music Reporter