By Earl Dumlao
Drenched in sweat, struggling for air, and crushed by the huge mass of humanity coming from left and right—the mosh pit in the middle of Singapore’s St. Jerome Laneway Festival, eagerly waiting for The 1975, felt both alien and familiar. On one hand, I found myself, alongside thousands of fans from different nationalities, in the sweltering afternoon heat waiting to catch the boys; on the other, this, too, was the same scenario when I was jumping around with fellow Filipino fans during the band’s Mall of Asia concert in 2015. Heck, even their sets at the Ayala Malls from a few years back felt exactly the same. And I’m sure it will still be the case as they take the stage in Manila once again for Music Management International’s In The Mix on August 18. By the time the band took the stage at Laneway, the anticipation erupted into a sonic fête—electrifying, exciting, and exhilarating. The 1975 raptures through their set of infectious tunes and even more infectious dances—from classics like “Chocolate” and “Girls,” to the power of “Pressure” and “Settle Down,” and to newer tracks such as “She’s American” and “Ugh.” The boys from England just took over the stage in a way that only they can. Undeniably, wherever city they are, The 1975 just takes it. Four lads armed with a slick collection of songs, going after the world, conquering every inch with their unabashed brand of pop, alongside a massive neon pink sign to mark their territory. It must be good to be The 1975.
Kicking off the year with a new album and a new aesthetic, The 1975’s sophomore record, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, was welcomed by the world with anticipation. Debuting at No. 1 in Canada on the SoundScan charts, as well as the U.K. Official Albums Chart and U.S. Billboard Hot 200, the band joins the esteemed ranks of The Beatles, Radiohead, and David Bowie, amongst others, in simultaneously conquering the offiial albums chart on both sides
of the Atlantic. The second studio album from the Manchester four-piece has also soared to No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand, and claimed the top spot on iTunes in 37 countries on launch. On the local front, their sound has been shown massive support among their fans. Beyond that, the neon-themed album has united critics in their praise, earning plaudits ranging from “Essential,”—NME, four stars; “Packed full of fantastic pop songs and smart lyrics”—The Guardian, four stars, “Astonishing”— Sunday Times Culture, to “Heroically ambitious”—GQ, “A flamboyant triumph”—Evening Standard and “This is their year”—The Times, four stars. Q declares them “the U.K.’s most exciting young band.” True, these praises are very much crystal clear as The 1975 have had the sort of breakthrough that only happens once a decade.
Matty Healy (vocals), Adam Hann (guitar), Ross MacDonald (bass), and George Daniel (drums) formed the band at school on the outskirts of Manchester 10 years ago. After years of honing their sound, 2013’s debut album revealed a band that could blend accessible and anthemic choruses with an artistic appeal. It was a record where indie-pop grooves and alternative R&B atmospherics sat seamlessly next to each other. A mass audience connected with indelible tracks such as “Girls,” “Sex,” and “Robbers” and their tales of adolescent recklessness. As soon as their tunes touched our shores, the band was embraced wholeheartedly, with a triumphant series of shows in Manila.
If you look closely, however, it’s no surprise why the band is such a force to be reckoned with. The 1975 has made a record that captures the sweet exhilaration of falling in love, the shattering devastation of breaking up, and all the fun and drama in between. They have a cherished mix of unlimited ambition and the rarefid talent to back it up. “We’re like brothers, we really are. We don’t know anyone who is as close with their siblings as we are with each other because from age 13 to now, we have been in the same room together,” says Matty—and this spirit is at the heart of their glorious second album. The 1975 has definitely set a benchmark that will be hard to follow.
“I’ve learnt that it is important to move forward every day, even if that movement is small.” —Matty Healy
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Photograph courtesy of Music Management International. Special thanks to Nixon Sy of Music Management International.