The year may have been over three decades ago already, but England’s The 1975 are a completely fresh creation. Sporting a shiny new name tag (they were previously ‘The Slowdown,’ ‘Big Sleep,’ and ‘Drive Like We Do’), and after what felt like an eternity’s worth of buzz, the young Manchester band are finally releasing their debut EP, Facedown, which has got everyone wondering: do you they live up to the hype? Finally, the noisy chatter can be replaced with actual music, and we can all judge for ourselves.
Opener and title track “Facedown” certainly makes a strong case. Knowing ahead of time that a band is from Manchester, you may at first expect a darker, more industrial sound, as the stereotype often leads us to believe that all Mancunians are lugging tin cans to and from a factory every day. “Facedown” still evokes a sort of cloudiness, but in a fuzzy, Jesus-and-Mary-Chain-ish sort of way that is a lot brighter than you might expect; the far-off, spacey vocals and hypnotic synths are more dreamy than dark.
Next up is “The City,” which picks up the pace a bit but is still sweeping and atmospheric enough to continue the flow of the other three songs. It’s a very good single, and it shows that big pop hooks are what this band are probably best at; sort of like the Big Pink, The 1975 are more reminiscent of 1980s English pop bands, with a little new wave and shoegaze influence thrown in to shake things up a bit.
“Antichrist” is another slick, cool track, on which a church organ and a driving drum beat lay the foundation for a really powerful, slow, vocal performance. However, Facedown proves that it isn’t without its letdowns as the EP moves on to its closer, “Woman.” A little draggy and missing the other songs’ surprising kicks, it’s the one throwaway track.
The final verdict is that, yes, The 1975 are a buzz band worth getting behind– at least for now. It’s hard to give a full judgement based on just four tracks, but the ambitious Facedown EP certainly makes a partial impression.
3 / 5 bars