Artist: The 1975
Song: “Give Yourself A Try”
Album: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (due in stores this October)
Will it be a new single? A new album? A video? These were the questions swirling around The 1975’s mysterious countdown announcement on their website that sprung up while the masses waited. Teasing a new release entitled Music For Cars (not to be confused with the confusingly similarly titled EP of 2013), the internet was buzzing with the promise of new music and a new era for the band.
Answers were given as the countdown ticked down to zero yesterday (spoiled in part by advance listing on streaming services) with the release of a new single, “Give Yourself A Try,” a brutally honest self-reflective tune—as is lead singer Matty Healy’s want—about growing up and wising up. But more on that in a bit.
The release also answered the album question. Despite previously touting the Music For Cars nomer it ended up being a little bit of a misnomer. Healy confirmed the new release had undergone a name change, as this new effort will be reshaped under the title A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. Furthermore, additional new music has been promised with another album, entitled Notes on a Conditional Form, slated for May of 2019. Despite the name change, the band is still heralding this set of releases as falling under the Music For Cars era. In a very Douglas Adams kind of way, The 1975 appear to be delivering a trilogy of major releases in four parts.
So what about the music? Is “Give Yourself A Try” any good?
Well, in typical The 1975 fashion the song has its share of influences and comes off as a pop-punk recitation on aging and the self-awareness it brings and a plea for self-acceptance. With a droning guitar line, “Try” mixes a dash of Joy Division with a tweak of Radiohead and churns through its punchy 3:21 run time. “Try” isn’t the radio-friendly lead single some may have hoped for. It certainly isn’t as bright and boppy as “The Sound” from their last outing, 2016’s superb I Like It When You Sleep For You Are Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. But it does force the listener to check their expectations and teases questions about what the new album will ultimately sound like.
After a few listens, “Try” doesn’t so much as grow on you as it infiltrates you. The video, which highlights key lyrics, sees the band thrashing about in suits while Healy’s bright red hair and smeared eye makeup gives off a very Johnny Rotten vibe. In fact, in the culture clash duality that seems to be part of The 1975’s makeup, you get the sense of a collision between the perfect pop of suited Beatles and the preening punk of the Sex Pistols in one healthy wallop.
Whilst “Try” doesn’t light you up in the same way that previous lead singles “The Sound” and “Sex” did, you can’t help but feel the band were looking to deliberately jolt their audience with this amped-to-the-max manoeuver. Expectations be damned, The 1975 will continue to march to their own drum. And with the album formerly known as Music For Cars now slated for an October release, the wait continues.
In an era of twitter feed instant answers, it’s nice to see some artists can still enjoy embracing a sense of (calculated) mystery. And you can be guaranteed there is more mystery ahead as we move towards the release of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.