The subject of major debate around being overhyped and the questionable pretension of frontman Matty Healy, the release of The 1975’s third album was met with trepidation and intrigue – it was distinctly hard to tell whether we were on the precipice of something ground-breaking or disappointingly lacklustre. Fundamentally, it is a retrospective, thought-provoking collection of songs – though diverse and sporadic, at the heart of all of these songs is reflection upon human nature in a modern age.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is the very first song – opening with ‘The 1975’ in the exact same way as their previous two albums have done is a captivating choice, setting the tone for the album as nostalgic yet embracing of change and growth, and this is prevalent throughout.
The album is inescapably innovative – though the manifestation of this is more successful in some songs than other. The inclusion of ‘The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme’, an entire track narrated by Siri, is a wonderfully bold move: a dark meditation on our vehement obsession with and reliance upon the internet, the computerised and unfeeling tone this experimentalism affords the song works in the band’s favour completely.
It is evident that The 1975 have developed some of the better parts of their previous work and mostly this is successful – nevertheless, there are some moments where this feels like it has been pushed too far. ‘Give Yourself A Try’ was the one release which made me apprehensive about the release of their album – jarring and somewhat discordant, it seemed an interesting choice for the first single.
Over the course of the album, it becomes increasingly clear that The 1975 are at their strongest in their more tender, confessional moments – ‘Be My Mistake’ is nothing short of gorgeous, and it attests to the notion that The 1975 are at their best when they are embracing vulnerability and being raw and emotive, rather than being overshadowed by elaborate production.
As a whole, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is an impressive album – it’s political, outward-looking investigation into relationships is engrossing and intriguing and symbolic of how much the band have changed since their first release in 2013.