Life Con­nected

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The 1975

A Brief In­quiry Into On­line Re­la­tion­ships

Au­dac­ity is the 1975’s bread and but­ter — no idea is too bold, no ques­tion too messy. So when word came that the English quar­tet were plan­ning on re­leas­ing not one, but two new al­bums in the span of six months, it was taken with a shrug, be­cause of course they were. A Brief In­quiry Into On­line Re­la­tion­ships, the first of those two, was pre­ceded by half-a-dozen son­i­cally di­ver­gent sin­gles bound to­gether by the band’s in­ef­fa­ble abil­ity to weave in­flu­ences past and present into some­thing wholly new and fa­mil­iar. It’s what’s al­lowed the group, spear­headed by singer and song­writer Matty Healy, to build upon each re­lease with­out suc­cumb­ing to bloated rock band clichés — at least not with­out the req­ui­site self-aware quip to bring the whole thing back down to Earth.

Of course, that was be­fore Healy fell prey to per­haps the big­gest rock star clichés of them all: drug ad­dic­tion and re­hab. Yet he’s re­sponded to his per­sonal tra­vails by ditch­ing ironic de­tach­ment and em­brac­ing a new­found sin­cer­ity and emo­tional vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

Most of the al­bum’s big high­lights have al­ready seen the light of day — the bub­bling ef­fer­ves­cence of “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” the pointed and plain­tive “Love It If We Made It” — but even in­ter­sti­tial tracks that sew the record’s 15 songs to­gether feel es­sen­tial to its be­ing. Much has been made over the years of the 1975’s sta­tus as a rock band op­er­at­ing at a pop mu­sic level. But it’s their will­ing­ness to fall flat on their face while swing­ing for the fences that sep­a­rates them from the fo­cus-grouped in­of­fen­sive­ness of their pop peers. The messi­ness of the whole thing seems to be the point, part of its au­dac­ity. In most artists’ hands, that would be a recipe for cre­ative bloat. Yet more than ever be­fore, the 1975 prove them­selves masters of the form. (Dirty Hit/Poly­dor)

When did the al­bum’s ti­tle come about? Were you writ­ing songs to fit that theme?

Healy: I wasn’t think­ing “Oh I want to write a record about, you know, how we com­mu­ni­cate with tech­nol­ogy.” I just re­al­ized that if you write a record about re­la­tion­ships in the mod­ern day, and how they’re are me­di­ated, you kind of start mak­ing a record about the in­ter­net by proxy be­cause it’s such a to­tal ex­pe­ri­ence. The on­line ex­pe­ri­ence, it is the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence.

You seem to­tally dis­in­ter­ested in evok­ing nostal­gia with your mu­sic.

I find it in­ter­est­ing when young bands do that, be­cause I feel part of a gen­er­a­tion that isn’t in­ter­ested in those kind of things. It just doesn’t seem very re­flec­tive of the en­vi­ron­ment. Maybe it’s be­cause I’m a mod­ernist — we just like new shit. I ap­pre­ci­ate old stuff and I love cul­ture, there­fore my re­la­tion­ship with his­tory is as ex­citable as any­body else’s, but I still want to cre­ate some­thing new.

ROCK

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