Notes On A Conditional Form 2LP (Color)
The 1975’s fourth album Notes On A Conditional Form is out today through Dirty Hit/Universal Music Canada, the country's leading music company. It is the follow-up to 2018’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the record that marked The 1975 out not just as the band of their generation, but as a band for the ages too. Frontman Matty Healy and co-songwriter George Daniel, bassist Ross MacDonald and guitarist Adam Hann formed the group 17 years ago as childhood friends in Wilmslow and Notes On A Conditional Form is another landmark statement in a career full of them. “Every time I do a 1975 record, I kind of just go through my catalogue of music, the mental rolodex,” says Matty. “And I think that Notes is an interesting record, because it has our most aggressive moments and our most tranquil moments and they're quite harshly lined up against each other. I don't have a playlist of one type of music, so I don't consume music like that, and when I'm inspired it'll never happen twice in one genre.”
Seamlessly bridging the gap between A Brief Inquiry and Notes On A Conditional Form, The 1975 have continually released music in the run-up to the album release. Each has been a complete shift, not just musically, ranging from UK garage to electronica to indie-pop, but lyrically and even image-wise: the anarcho-punks amid the chaos in the People video are the Blur-wannabe indie-pop kids in the "Me & You Together Song" video are the CGI avatars in the video for the dreamy "The Birthday Party." The most recent, "If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)" takes things back almost to the source of The 1975 – a John Hughes movie bop with glimmering electronic glisses and cavernous ‘80s chords, but paired with a modern tale of lust-via-webcam and a minimalist, monochrome video. It’s proof of The 1975’s ability to simultaneously explore the leftfield while delivering giant pop bangers and resulted in the band’s highest chart position to date.
Early in the process of making NOACF, Matty spoke about the album being all about the now – about art that reflects the world and the band at the point of creation. It’s a statement that’s borne out in the finished record, a 22-track monster that is as concerned with everyday ennui on the micro scale as it is with ecological disaster on the macro. The record begins with the latest version of The 1975, the signature instrumental piece that appears in a different form on each of their albums. This one, released in July 2019, is a stirring, proactive speech from teenage activist Greta Thunberg mandating fans to wake up to environmental disaster. “To have that voice and that sentiment on the record, I couldn't think of anybody more powerful,” says Matty. Recording for the album has been ongoing since the release of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, taking in 15 studios in four countries and a mobile studio set-up aboard the band’s tourbus as they took A Brief Inquiry…’s spectacular stage-show on the road.
On NOACF, the band’s family has grown to encompass new collaborators too, including actor Timothy Healy, Matty’s father. Don’t Worry was written by Healy senior when Matty was 11, and was dusted down and recorded by the band for NOACF. Elsewhere, FKA twigs and Phoebe Bridgers lend their vocals as backing textures and a duet from the latter. “It became such a personal record that there were no rules any more,” says Matty. “Anybody who had breached the intimacy of the studio was inherently part of the record already. With Phoebe, I just felt like I hadn't loved a female vocal like hers in like a decade – I was obsessed with her record.”
- Number of discs: 2
- Label: Interscope
- Mono/Stereo: Stereo
- Catalog Number: 7765852