You’d be forgiven for thinking The 1975’s reached pop’s pinnacle by stealth. Few appreciate quite how big they are, but two years ago Matt Healy and co’s self-titled debut album sprang to No.1, and this summer they confounded a dozing music industry, wielding a peculiarly new kind of power. For the whole of June 1, their social media accounts went dark, giving their fans kittens and grabbing the attention of the press. Were they gone for good? Nope, just 24 hours.
When they reappeared, they had a new colour scheme. So, for the price of a social media team and an under-stretched designer, The 1975 proved they could cradle the music world in their palm. Four months on, it’s time to ditch stunts for substance.
But wait a sec. Hours before ‘Love Me’ debuted on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show, there was a messily typewritten letter, a jumbled artistic statement including a rare outing for the word “emerciates” and a declaration: “I would die for this.”
So what would Healy (presumably) die for? David Bowie’s ‘Fame’, by the sounds, at least in ‘Love Me”s descending, discordant squeaks, but where that jerked this flows. From the speaker-hopping funky jangle to the unexpected but brilliant cock-rocking guitar solo, ‘Love Me’ fizzes with overweening confidence, fitting for a song Healy says is about narcissism (“got a beautiful face but nothing to say”), and is a monster hit whatever their inspirations.
Hang on, Bowie’s ‘Fame’? That’s from 1975. They’re mucking us about again.