Think of The 1975 this year and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the numerous bangers and heartbreaking slow jams? Is it Matty’s ever more outlandish stage outfits? Is it that pic with the glasses? (If you’re a fan you’ll know the one.) Or is it that distinctive shade of light pink that has coloured everything they’ve done this year? Then think of Prince and what comes to mind? – Bangers, ridiculous outfits and the colour purple. Think of Bowie and what comes to mind? A striking visual identity, showmanship and theatricality. Notice a theme developing?
Now, we’re not saying that The 1975 are on the same level as those two dearly departed icons (well, maybe), but it’s an odd and heartbreaking coincidence that their departures this year coincided with The 1975’s stratospheric imperial year. Their success has been inspired by an unmatched visual identity and clever cultivation of a unique aesthetic, two things that those two late legends pioneered.
The visual look has always been key to The 1975. Every little detail counts. This year with the release of their second album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’, they took things to the next level with a stage show that looks unbelievably slick and stylish yet is incredibly simple and direct. They make a little go a very long way.
In frontman Matty, of course, they have the grand showman. Someone who is both aware of his idol status yet totally lacking in self-awareness at the same time. He’s a mass of contradictions, naivety, brilliance and messed up curly hair and that’s what makes him such a compelling character.
This year has been one of the outstanding moments for the band befitting an album bursting with ambition. It’s easy to forget among the bangers just what a staggering 15 minutes of music the middle instrumental section of the album is, but they brought that to life with the help of the BBC concert orchestra for a stunning performance in Blackpool. This emphasised the peak of their gift: to create a moment and a magical memory. To make something that’s more than just the music and the band playing their album: this was The 1975 making a statement that they’re more than just a regular band.
If music is about anything, it’s about being brave, true to yourself and sticking to your principals – and that’s what The 1975 have done this year.