“The 1975 are back with a track that’s 78 per cent cooler than the last and it’s off that album that you can never remember the name of and now it’s HERE as an ‘instant grat’,” begins a typewritten note from The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, squashed next to three drawings relating to new track ‘UGH!’.
“Maybe it’ll get the grown-ups to call us pretentious which I love cos bad press isn’t even a thing!!!”, he concludes. Writing a song about your cocaine addiction that includes the line “It’s just a simple diarrhetic that prevents the empathetic” is like Healy’s throwing down the gauntlet to those judging him and daring them to walk right into his trap.
In that way, ‘UGH!’ captures one of the most fascinating facets of The 1975 – Healy’s verbose, ostentatious lyrics flying in the face of their position as a band beloved by their fans in the same as One Direction. It could come across as clunky posturing, the singer trying too hard to prove his intelligence, but, in this track at least, it doesn’t sound out of place at all.
A song about coming down from cocaine and failed attempts to kick the habit could easily be dreary and self-indulgent. Instead, it sounds practically joyous, bright, supple guitar lines rippling like they’re being played on a wobbleboard and a loose rhythm section virtually encouraging finger-clicking, hip-dipping dad-dancing. It’s only Healy’s lyrics that give way to the darkness at the song’s heart – lines like “‘Do you have a card?/My irregular heartbeat is starting to correct itself'” and “And you’re the only thing that’s going on in my mind/Taking over my life a second time”.
‘UGH!’ might be more personal than the selfie culture-attacking ‘Love Me’, but it’s no less bold, brilliant or thought-provoking. ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ looks set to be one of 2016’s most intriguing albums.