NB: After thinking about this article a bit, I feel I should preface it with this…
I rarely, if ever, write articles putting a band down. This is one of the very few in nearly five years. I don’t like The 1975‘s music. It seems fair to say so, and to explain why.
It’s also not fair to say all this without pointing out that being in a new band is hard work, and I honestly believe that The 1975 work hard, and believe in what they’re doing, as do their management, and as do their label.
I could have picked any band of their ilk, really, but I picked them, because they were the one that triggered all the below.
I also believe that the parameters of what constitutes a ‘new band’ has changed, and I don’t really agree with how they are presented to us, the public, a lot of the time. A lot happens behind the scenes that could leave a bad taste in our mouths.
But that’s not The 1975′s fault in any way. If you like their music, buy it, support them, tell your friends. But do remember to look for the music first. It’s always the most important thing.
Have you heard of The 1975? The band, obviously, not the calendar year.
I only ask because it seems a lot of people are talking about the 1975, a young band who sound just like you’d imagine a young guitar band formed today would sound: slightly masculine (but not too masculine), with a song called Sex, which lends a sheen of slight edginess (but not too much edginess), and head-scratchingly influenced by the Landfill Indie titans of 2006.
They have nice haircuts. They have a professional media pack available for bloggers, broadcasters and newspapers. They seem to be nice guys.
And here’s the oddest thing: a lot of people are talking about them – witness their impact on the Hype Machine - but here I am in their hometown of Manchester (lots of articles mentions this, because it immediately and tiresomely links them with forebearers Oasis), and I haven’t heard anyone talking about them.
So who is it that’s talking about the 1975? And why?
They’re another guitar band who sound like any number of other guitar bands. Who are they appealing to? Why are people talking about them as opposed to any number of old bands they sound a bit like but better? Why would you listen to the 1975, and not the Pixies, say?
Here is some of the online praise for the 1975′s song, Sex:
Rooted in Britpop, the song touches on such relatable topics as desire, longing, and eventually, heartache, because “she’s got a boyfriend, anyway.” Suffice it to say, “Sex” is a single that definitely grows on you.
Sex, out on 11.20, encompasses the essence of the Manchester outfit’s anti-tribalist leanings & confirms their stance as magpies of culture + sound.
So far, so blah. Boxes are ticked. Britpop. Heartache. Boyfriends. These are topics that have all been played out over guitar pop a trillion times before.
(Oh, and here’s something interesting: that last quote about being magpies of culture and sound, which sounds really buzzy and snappy and carefully written by a PR person? Well, put it this way: maybe a whole bunch of writers thought exactly the same thought, or a whole bunch of blogs have just copied and pasted that quote and put it on their blog.)
So – again – why are these people talking about them, aside from the fact that they simply pasted the contents of a PR email? It has to be the novelty, doesn’t it? The sheer newness, the fact that 12 months ago, The 1975 didn’t exist, and now they do exist.
And it seems that this is enough. This is the level of expectation now, and the new system is a little bit like in Minority Report: a new ball pops out of a pipe with a new name on it, and then we focus a lot of attention on that name until we kill it as fast as we can.
I don’t hate the 1975. They just don’t interest me at all, because I feel that the music they’re making has been made a hundred times before, and there seems to be no reason to nudge a band like, say, Ash, out of my mind to find room for the 1975.
I honestly and sincerely hope the 1975 are given time to grow as artists and make music that moves me. But right now, The 1975′s sound, songs and approach to music isn’t new – only the fact that they are here at all. This is not enough. Not by any measure.
Meanwhile, another band from Manchester, Dutch Uncles, have recently and quietly finished their third album, and, having had the time and space to grow, recorded a song that glows, shines and charms. It has been playlisted on national radio. Go figure.