When you're a four-piece rock band in the year 2020, it's a hard thing to keep scaling up. But that's what The 1975 and frontman Matty Healy have done over the course of seven years and three albums -- soon to be four, with the release next Friday (May 22) of their much-anticipated new album, Notes on a Conditional Form.
While the band's 2013 self-titled debut brought them fame (and infamy) in their home country of the U.K., and earned them a pop cult following in the U.S., 2016 sophomore set I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It made them stars on both sides of the Atlantic, topping both the U.K. charts and the Billboard 200 Albums listing. Third album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships brought them somewhere new: near-unanimous critical approval, including a five-star NME review, a Brit award for British album of the year, and even the No. 1 song on Pitchfork's 2018 year-end list for single "Love It If We Made It."
Now, Notes on a Conditional Form looks to be their biggest album yet -- and it certainly is, at least in terms of size and scope. At 22 tracks and over 80 minutes, it's their longest and widest-reaching album, freely flowing between its many disparate tracks. Confrontational punk screeds like lead single "People" collide with delicate acoustic ballads like Phoebe Bridgers duet "Jesus Christ God 2005 Bless America" and slick pop-rock like the just-released intra-band devotional "Guys," as orchestral instrumentals and ambient electronic explorations provide the set's connective tissue. Healy also released a series of podcasts through U.K. magazine The Face, in which he interviews a number of his musical heroes -- including Stevie Nicks, Brian Eno, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth -- about their musical histories and processes, and where his own band fits in relationship to them.