It’s difficult enough to review a 22-track album in less than 300 words let alone an album so packed with detail as this one is. The 1975’s third studio album comes a mere 91 days after the original release date after Matty Healy refused to stop adding songs making the album 1 hour and 20 minutes long. NOACF is patched together with minimalistic house and dancehall-inspired tracks (featuring artists from Cutty Ranks, FKA Twigs, and Phoebe Bridgers) and swerves somewhat recklessly into just about every genre imaginable.
As is often the case in multi-genre albums, some songs are lost as somewhat pastiches of these genres rather than simply taking influence from them. This leads to huge contrast between the songs, causing the listener to somewhat lose the thread supposedly connecting them all together. NOACF is, however, saved more than ever by the sheer sonic skill of the band and the versatility of their sound that they’re able to produce.
In comparison to the past clean-cut, flanger classic pop tracks such as ‘UGH!’, The 1975 delve into a grungier, distortion-orientated feel for tracks such as ‘Me & You Together Song’ and ‘Then Because She Goes’. This is, except for ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ which exudes huge first-album energy with it’s simple electro-pop feel reminding us that this is, in fact, the same band that made ‘Girls’ way back when. It is, however, somewhat disappointing to see this track seemingly as a one-off within the album.
With lyrics laden with references to past albums and the mildly confusing and jagged nature of the album, it is easy to see a reflection and draw comparisons to Matty’s own personal life which has been known to be both confusing and jagged in the past. Whether this excuses the confusion the album causes or not, it can be said that the album does, in fact, reflect the artist. Whilst it may not be the pop anthem album the fans would have appreciated, it is a compilation and a fine display of what is undeniably The 1975.
It’s difficult to argue that The 1975 have a static and uninteresting sound with this album so if you do feel the need to bash the band as we all do sometimes, targeting their lack of cohesiveness and refined direction on this album is a likely more sure-fire approach.
*3 out of 5*