Album Review: The 1975 – Sex EP

“Flits brilliantly between lashings of soulful RnB and piping hot slices of pop pie. Big things await…”

The 1975  |  Sex EP

Over the course of their debut release – the Facedown EP – The 1975 presented themselves as a band with a split personality. In the thumping lead single ‘The City’ they had a genuine pop moment, with propulsive beats and nagging hooks, yet across the EP’s three remaining tracks the young Manchester band appeared to be more interested in crafting a woozy M83-esque ambience. It was, if you will, three parts ‘interesting’ to one part ‘thrilling’.

In many ways, much the same can be said of their new offering, the second in a trio of EPs scheduled to be released prior to their debut album in early 2013. This EP again flits between two opposing styles and again the group don’t appear to divulge which they prefer. There are however, two key differences. Firstly, while much of Facedown was given to atmospheric, dreamy guitarscapes it is in fact lashings of soulful RnB that turns them away from their piping hot slices of pop pie on this outing. Perhaps more importantly though they’ve tinkered with the ratio, resulting in the Sex EP containing two genuinely brilliant moments and making it a far more memorable listen.

The EP’s title track – already picked up and played with much enthusiasm by Radio 1’s chief tastemakers Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens – is an almost straight down the line indie-rock song, featuring a squalling lead guitar line and Matt Healy’s fragile vocal. The track possesses just a single chorus and upon its arrival doffs its cap to numerous US emo/hardcore bands before nestling back into its snuggly indie jumper.

The second standout moment follows directly after it in the form of ‘You’, which opens with a glitchy, unhinged guitar part before settling into a glorious groove and melting into a sugar-sweet chorus. As you may expect on an EP with such a name, singer Matt Healy isn’t afraid to open up about the contents of his little black book – ‘it’s not my fault, that I’ve fucked everybody here…’ he sings on ‘You’ and when confronted with some spare time on the title track he isn’t afraid to suggest ‘if we’re gonna do anything we might as well just fuck’.

Unsurprisingly the opening salvo of effects-laden RnB slow jams don’t work quite so well, but that’s not to say they are completely without merit. ‘Undo’, if it took another direction, could be an Usher song and plays with the minimalist formula so loved by The Weeknd et al at the moment. It’s not an unwelcome addition to the band’s palette, but does sound like it’s an aspect of the four-piece that hasn’t been developed as much as it needs to in order to hit the bullseye so cleanly.

Across their two releases so far The 1975 have toyed with numerous styles and ideas. It’s high praise indeed that the one that they consistently nail is perhaps the hardest of all – bonafide radio belters. In an interview they did with this website, they spoke of their debut album as a record full of this kind of song – good news for the fans they’ve gained from Radio 1 – and that shows a band willing and happy to play to their strengths. While there is one more EP to come before then, we’re already getting very excited.




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