The 1975 prove once again why they are Britain’s most exciting bands ahead of their fifth album.
Since the release of their polarizing 2020 album Notes On a Conditional Form there has been pretty much radio silence from Britain’s indie-based but ultimately genreless superstars The 1975 aside from a few collaborations (including the fabulous Spinning with No Rome & Charli XCX). However, they have now marked their return with their new single Part Of The Band, the lead from their upcoming fifth album Being Funny in a Foreign Language.
While the fans desperate for the Cheshire four-piece to return to the 80s-inspired sounds of their first two albums will be disappointed, they should probably have learnt by now that it just doesn’t appear to be a sound that interests frontman and lead writer Matty Healy anymore. Much like previous lead singles Love Me, Give Yourself a Try and People, Part Of The Band sees the band once again rip up any expectations of them in glorious fashion as it appears they are trying a Bon Iver-tinged folk direction for the new record. While previous lead singles have been drastically different to their corresponding albums, Healy alluded in a BBC Radio 1 interview that this is their most sonically cohesive album to date.
Backed up by a glossy mix from producer extraordinaire Jack Antonoff (alongside Healy and drummer George Daniel), it builds upon the folk sounds we heard in Notes tracks Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America and The Birthday Party while adding inspired yet interesting lyricism and production choices that allow it to stand out as a perfectly divisive lead single.
Vocally performed in a way akin to 80s-era Paul Simon, lyrically the song sees Healy notably discuss his online ‘cancellation’ and the issues that came with the expectation to be some sort of political icon that fans seemed to imprint upon him following tracks like Love It If We Made It and the aforementioned People (“Enough about me now / You gotta talk about the people, baby”). It’s certainly a bold topic to feature on the lead single, but that only adds to why The 1975 remain one of the most exciting bands around. All this is contained in a lush four-minute journey inside the mind of Healy.
While the song has no true chorus, it has enough catchy moments that surely make up for that. “I like my men like I like my coffee / Full of soy milk and so sweet it won’t offend anybody” is one of Healy’s wittiest to date, potentially begging to go viral on TikTok, but in this instance, it simply doesn’t feel forced: Healy has always witty lyrics akin to that, now it just seems like the rest of the internet and music industry has caught up to him.
The final minute features a concoction of everything that has made The 1975 great to this day: twinkling pianos, groovy saxophone from John Waugh alongside a chant-like final verse that makes sure it will be an exciting prospect to see live in the future, alongside gorgeous background vocals from Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner.
While time will tell whether Healy and co. stick to their promise of this being their most sonically cohesive project to date, either way, Part Of The Band instantly suggests that you simply cannot bind The 1975 to one genre. They will always experiment, and in this case they have done it pretty damn well.
Part Of The Band is out now via Dirty Hit, check out the video below. Being Funny in a Foreign Language releases on October 14th, pre-order it here.