Matt Healey and his group have certainly gone through stages of their career. Their self titled album that came out in 2013 is still among my all time favorite albums and maybe the best album of the last decade. It has a really nice new wave type of sound that seems like it could have come out in the year 1975. However- this isn't the sound that the band would stick with forever. We saw in their last album, Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships that the band was experimenting with a different sound. That album was very critically acclaimed and got the band more recognition then it has ever. Their newest album, Notes on a Conditional Form has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year. The 22 song epic has been the talk of a lot of people who keep up with music. Especially since the singles leading up to the album all seemed to be very different from one another. What would this album be like? Well, it's certainly an odd one.
This isn't The 1975 you have come to know and love. I'd say the tracks Too Shy and Guys are the ones that feel the most like The 1975 in its truest form. The rest do a lot of experimentation with different genres. This includes several instrumental interludes, electronic beats, screamo and calming folk type music. The album is a mess but it's one of the most beautiful messes I've ever listened to and I've been thinking about it non stop since I listened to it for the first time.
I feel like after this album this band will be asked to do a score for a film because this album feels so cinematic. It feels as though the music changes and evolves like a narrative does. It comes in strong and loud and ends peacefully with a sense of catharsis behind it. The last two tracks hit you in the heart. One called "Don't Worry" which has Matty's dad doing back up made me very emotional. Especially after reading the song was written by Matty's dad and was one of the first songs Matty ever heard as a child. Then there is Guys, a track all about the appreciation and memories Matty has with his bandmates. It's just wonderful stuff.
The whole album feels like an experience. I've heard several people say it feels too crowded and overstuffed and I can probably agree with that. However, just being a huge fan of these guys it didn't matter much to me. It was like eating too much Chipotle, sure it's a lot but I love Chipotle. I could have listened to 6 more tracks of experimental instrumentals because I just adored seeing where those tracks would go. I certainly see putting some of these tracks on studying mixes in the future. Do I wish there were some more bops like Too Shy that are more conventionally 1975? Sure that's a fair thing to say. However, that is just putting this album in a box of expectations and not examining what it is. I feel like this is an album that overtime people will realize just how ambitious and profound the music on it actually was. This feels like a perfect way to start 2020- maybe this is the future of where music is going along with albums like After Hours from The Weeknd. If that is the case I am anticipating to see how this band and others evolve in the new decade. I personally think this is an album for the ages.