After months of delays, pushbacks, and eight single releases, The 1975’s fourth studio album, Notes
on a Conditional Form (NOACF) has finally arrived. An eclectic experiment of style and genre, the album contains some of the band’s best tracks to date, but lacks any form of cohesion.

Greta Thunburg opens the 22-track album with a five-minute monologue on climate change which is followed by ‘People’, the angsty single that could easily have featured on a pop-punk album from the 2000’s.  The soft instrumental piece, ‘The End (Music For Cars)’ which follows, is the complete opposite. These three tracks, showcase a clear message: bands don’t have to be restricted to one genre to produce good music.

It wouldn’t be a 1975 album without outstanding instrumental tracks. The album totals six distinct instrumentals, from ‘Streaming’ which features soft piano and harps,  to the garage-influenced and disorientating ‘Shiny Collarbone’.

‘Frail State of Mind’ and ‘Then Because She Goes’ are the most familiar sounding tracks. ‘Nothing Revealed/Everything Denied’ also has a similar vibe to popular tracks from the band’s second album such as fan favourite ‘If I believe You’. Both tracks have gospel backing singers echoing the chorus but what sets ‘Nothing Revealed/ Everything Denied’ apart is Matty Healy’s pitched down attempt at rapping or ‘rhythmically punctuated flow’ as he describes it.

NOACF ends after a monumental one hour and 20 minutes, with ‘Guys’ – a wholesome tribute to
being in a band. Healy reminisces: “You guys are the best thing that ever happened,” over a wistful
guitar melody.

Lack of coherence is The 1975’s greatest strength but equally their greatest weakness. The band successfully tried different styles. Good for them. Yet, amongst these genre experiments and the extensive instrumentals, big-hitters such as ‘Frail State of Mind’, ‘Then Because She Goes’ and ‘Nothing Revealed/ Everything Denied’, become lost in their chaotic surroundings.

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Ella Craig

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