Twitter character limit be damned, The 1975’s hotly anticipated I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it is here in all its wordy glory.
Having first hinted at a new direction last May with a cryptic social media disappearing act, the Manchester foursome have finally unveiled their 17-track reinvention exploration…and it’s an eye-opening pill to swallow.
Thanks to a benevolent publicity push audiences have been granted a taste of more than a quarter of the sophomore offering already. “Love Me,” “UGH!,” “The Sound,” and “Somebody Else,” were hit or miss but they served purposefully as introductory hors d’oeuvres to the main entree of the band’s methodic shift.
Always pushing the limits of substantive style. the experimental 80’s influences abound but that’s not where the metamorphosis ends. Psychedelia and new wave are weaved throughout; there’s even a soupçon of hip-hop buried deep in some of the measureless interludes. But the execution of this endeavor odoesn’t always land. Instead, you’re left with flashes of pop-brilliance and a handful of tracks falling short of their ambitious expectations.
I like it when you sleep… starts things off with the aptly named “The 1975,” a synthful re-up of their debut album’s lead track. But from there on, the record begins to drift off center, charting a new sonic path for the gents.
“A Change of Heart,” poignant chillwave, reverberates the sound of emotional euphony, while tracks like “Please Be Naked” and “Loving Someone” border on sentient new-age. Two acoustic testimonials round out the long play; “Nana,” a touching remembrance of a loved one passed and “She Lays Down,” a hopeless tale of coke inclination remind us of their powerful and unconventional lyricism. They even branch out into Sunday morning gospel, choir and all, on “If I Believe You.”
But fear not, their brand of offbeat, shimmery pop is not forgotten, just slightly toned down this turn. “She’s American” headlines a lost John Hughes soundtrack somewhere and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” awakens your glam-syncopation sensibilities.
And if it wasn’t for a few duds, the album’s listless title track, stodgy sonance “This Must Be My Dream,” and “Paris,” a soft, forgettable ballad, the effort would be on my shortlist of rotation repetitiousness. Instead I like it when… falls somewhere in the middle of trying too hard and avant-garde greatness. But at the core it’s still genuine The 1975; a product longtime listeners and new can respect.
Judge for yourselves though, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it is available now via Interscope Records.