The 1975: The title of their second album is longer than this heading. Seriously.

I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It is a long ass title.

But hey, I’m not complaining. Especially not when the product sounds like the love child of Prince and the xx.

Yep, the 1975 manage to somehow combine the Minneapolis sound with minimalist millennial methods to create one of the most heart-wrenching dance experiences of 2016.

Fuck that, one of the most heart-wrenching dance experiences of my life is more like it. I don’t know whether to do the funky chicken or cry my eyeballs out.

What bastards would make a man choose between these options? To hell with it, use the tears to clean the dance floor. Because Prince knew it and The 1975 do too:

Dance is therapy.

Some albums want listeners to cry along with them, others want listeners to dance for dance’s sake. Rarely, however, do albums ask them to dance because they are crying and to cry because they are dancing.

Beauty is depressing.

This album wants to scream the smoothest textures and meld melancholy with melody. That’s my kind of sadism. It’s fucked up, but this is an admirable “I’m going to feel sad about myself and feel good about it” album.

From wire to wire, The 1975 make sure I like it when you sleep (alright, I was undecided but that’s a creepy title) extracts as much emotion out of the listener as it does the band members.

They find space within funk. Something really hard to do considering that funk is all about momentum and space can kill momentum.

It can take mere notes to kill a melody, so to kill time they throw in one hell of a synthesizer to keep the ears wantin’ more and the music groovin’ on.

What does this result in?

Well, it results in sequences like the opening  funkism of “Love Me” and “UGH,” where crushed hopes precede the slow dancing “Change of Heart.” There Matthew Healy takes his time to slow dance and whisper into his girl’s ear that they’re breaking up.

And she said, “I’ve been so worried about you lately
You look shit and smell a bit”
You’re mad thinking you could ever save me
Not looking like that

You used to have a face straight out of a magazine
Now you just look like anyone
I just had a change of heart

If ever someone could describe the flaming out of a relationship, Healy excels in putting a voice to such an agonizing burn as George Daniel slowly drains the heart of blood with his stunning synthesizer work.

“A Change of Heart” is The 1975 clicking on all cylinders and not an exception in this album: it’s a rule. The album builds a space for funk, then for ambient electronic, then for alternative rock before dabbling in some acoustic rock.

And the band does well in all four spaces.

Crossing spaces and going places.

In one album, The 1975 just cross genres with will and each section has a highlight. However, this does lead to issues with time. The album is an epic 74 minutes long. That’s longer then some classic rock live albums.

And it’s impressive. It’s hard to serve up 74 minutes of music even if it’s sliced up in chunks. But sometimes, the space doesn’t quite merit what is being served.

Like a small quiche on the platter, there’s enough to enjoy, just not enough to fill up the plate. “Please Be Naked” and “Lostmyhead” leave me with this feeling more than other tracks.

The other problem that every band which produces such a mega-product is sameness. The attention is one of the hardest things to keep after 74 minutes.

Whether they just retread themes in a slightly different sound or sound with a slightly different theme, this can lead to the album wearing out it’s welcome by “The Sound” which sucks all kinds of foul things because it precedes some of the best down-catalogue stuff.

It’s harsh, but it means the album could do with an interim period at around 45 minutes or so. Just to take a breather before settling in for a melodically smooth denouement.

So for every problem this album has, it presents a solution in song form. That’s telling of a good album and sense of future for this band. They want to go places and explore.

And quite seriously, they put some of that magic into their sophomore effort.

Grade: B

Producers: Matthew Healy, Mike Crossey, George Daniel

Track Listing:

  1. “The 1975”
  2. “Love Me”
  3. “UGH!”
  4. “A Change Of Heart”
  5. “She’s American”
  6. “If I Believe You”
  7. “Please Be Naked”
  8. “Lostmyhead”
  9. “The Ballad of Me and My Brain”
  10. “Somebody Else”
  11. “Loving Someone”
  12. “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”
  13. “The Sound”
  14. “This Must Be My Dream”
  15. “Paris”
  16. “Nana”
  17. “She Lays Down”

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About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.