Pop-rock four-piece The 1975’s third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, is the first in their new “era” of music.
This album is full of recurring ideas, whether it’s the Bon Iver-esque vocoder harmonies in opener How To Draw/Petrichor and I Like America; the ambient soundscapes of Sincerity Is Scary; or the 80s power pop in Love It If We Made It and I Couldn’t Be More In Love.
For much of the album, frontman Matty Healy sings as usual about the shifting dynamics of a relationship, but the story arc gradually moves on to more sinister storytelling in Inside Your Mind. A highlight, the song features Healy’s most crooning delivery yet.
The Man Who Married a Robot is equally creepy, where a computer voice details a story of a man entering a relationship with the internet, which is part-hilarious/part-Black Mirror in song form.
The standout instrumentals are on Give Yourself a Try, which centres around a simple fuzzy guitar riff that endlessly repeats, but remains full of energy and optimism; and album closer I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) when it finally breaks into rock, offering the most euphoric and instant chorus, despite the sentiment behind the words.
It may feel more like a Healy solo album, but The 1975 manage to cover new ground, and hold your attention for a full 58 minutes.