We know time has lost all meaning in recent weeks but it does feel like we’ve been waiting for The 1975’s ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ for bloody ages. The end is in sight, though, and what better way to carry us through the next month than the absolute bop that is ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’?
A firm fan-favourite, it’s surely stuck in the heads of everyone who saw them on their UK tour this year (as well as those who had to resort to dodgy mobile phone footage). Now the proper thing is here – and with its edges sharpened and a bonus appearance from FKA Twigs, it’s even better than we remembered.
The song is still driven by rose-tinted joy, as the band embrace the coming-of-age films of John Hughes alongside the dark, melodic emo of Tears For Fears and The Cure. A big pop moment in the vein of ‘The Sound’ or ‘Love It If We Made It’, this song is shamelessly huge. The aching guitar line is immediately recognisable, the mark of an instant classic, and Matty’s cry of “Oh yeah” – before the uproarious sax takes over – offers perhaps the greatest endorphin release you’ll find this side of lockdown.
But even at their biggest and most uninhibited, The 1975 still keep it wonderfully weird. The first minute of ‘If You’re Too Shy…’ is a glitching tease of what’s to come, broken up by Twigs’ wordless vocals as an ominous Stranger Things–style drone stalks the track. The song itself tells the story of an online lust affair that occupies the subjects’ every thought, with Matty desperate to “see the girl on the screen.” It’s never that simple with this band, though.
“There’s something about her stare that makes you nervous and you say things that you don’t mean,” Matty sings, allowing relatable vulnerability to creep through. Elsewhere, he confesses how much he needs the fake courage of alcohol (“Sometimes it’s better if you think but this time / I’m going to drink through it”) to escape the real world.
The five other singles released from ‘Notes’ so far see The 1975 living by Matty’s recent assertion that “when bands get to a stage that we’re in, they wanna graduate into being a massive rock band, whereas we wanna graduate into being a small emo band.”
And, sure, other recent singles ‘Frail State of Mind’ and ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’ see The 1975 whispering instead of shouting, but ‘Too Shy’ throws that out of the window in a flourish of ‘80s excess. Either way, Britain’s best band are getting better. Illuminating their heartfelt emotion for all to see, ‘If You’re Too Shy…’ sees The 1975 at their glorious, gargantuan best.