Five years ago The 1975 dropped their monumental album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, or as I’ll be referring to it (because effort gah) as ILIWYS. If you thought the 80s vibes couldn’t be topped after their self-titled debut, “aha, you are dead wrong”. The 1975 are a band with so much more to offer than your typical indie-pop band, delivering an entire era defined by it’s words and art, to the point of their live shows encapsulating the entirety of their songs personalities, The 1975 are a statement to the word ‘Artist’. I think it’s an underappreciated art to produce an album, make it go in various musical directions but seamlessly tie it all together and create a genuine universe for all its songs to coexist. But here proves that its all possible, and is utterly majestic when that happens. So as a brief inquiry (aha – nice right?) into the realm of ILIWYS, I hope you can look back on this album with me and appreciate the ingenuity that makes this record so bloody great.
After two years of so much identity with a black and white aesthetic, what better way to revitalise your sonic vision than with the bombastic colour of pink and the intro that is Love Me. A song that takes your hands and dances with your bones like a piss up that snogs you when you sit back down. Leading straight into the 80s drooling UGH! which delves into the topics of addiction, something frontman Matty Healy has been more than open about over the years. The music video based upon the incredible live show set, designed by Tobias Rylander which just has to be mentioned because it is enriched in beauty.
Then changing the pace the album goes into A Change Of Heart, a slow ballad that swoons you to sway during the comedown of a party. A pretty coloured song that blinds the facade of a story about two people falling out of love with each other. The 1975 have a knack for writing tear-jerking relatable hits, curse you Matty with your big words giving me the biggest feels. She’s American blasts in next, a personal highlight of 80s pop perfection, the synth bassline, the Johnny Marr / shoegaze-like hybrid guitars that caress you into a dream, goodness me that song makes me feel things on an inhuman level.
If I Believe You is a fan favourite that takes off next (although I have no idea why I say fan favourite as if other tracks aren’t faves also) a waltz that opens up a conversation between Healy and God, begging the question; “And if I believe you will that make it stop”, questioning Healy’s lack of faith and desire to have something to believe in, during a period of uncertainty, proclaiming “I’ll be your child if you insist, I mean if it was you that made my body you probably shouldn’t have made me atheist” Please Be Naked accompanies us next, an instrumental track that whispers in your ear so much with so little. A piano-led track that drowns you in the sweet sorrow of this little album I love.
Lostmyhead and The Ballad Of Me And My Brain drift into your ears, starting with a track with a lyric that quotes back to a song off the band’s debut EP. “Then he said I lost my head / Can you see it?” With that calmic haze being stripped away for a loud angry tantrum about the disconnection between Healy and his mind. It’s the subtle transition between the frail state of mind (ha reference) Healy has to deal with that makes this pairing so devastatingly divine.
Somebody Else, arguably the bands most popular tune is a slow ballad about the pain of moving on after a relationship and it’s hauntingly sad. The line “I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else” is so simple yet so resoundingly relevant within so many of our lives. Somebody Else creates an involuntary emotional attachment to you and because of that makes it one that you can’t get out of your head.
It disapparates into Loving Someone, which has become an LGBTQ anthem. Delving in the topics of how disenfranchised the population is and the systematic homophobia within that.
“It’s better if we keep them perplexed,
It’s better if we make them want the opposite sex”
Which all leads to a Healy delivering a spoken-word piece to end the song that just pauses for thought but demands to be heard. With the backing music continuing with thumping bass and twinkling synths, drummer and producer George Daniels is a genius and the talent he shreds throughout this album is nothing shy of blessing upon the music scene. The almost instrumental ambient synth-scape title track of (okay I’ll do it just this once – deep breath) I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it injects a pure sense of vulnerability here, and if the work of Daniels and co haven’t impressed you yet then this surely shall, and the standalone lyric of “Before you go, turn the big light off” just gives me chills it’s beautiful… yET sO uNAWARE oF iT!!
Jokes aside, the albums biggest radio hit comes on in the form of The Sound that really bops with you no matter where you are. That hook of “I know when you’re around cause I know the sound of your heart” being tattooed on people all over, reposted all over Tumblr and such, covered to death but purely because it’s such a danceable and sing-a-long track. It’s music video flashes on screen with quotes of harsh remarks on the band from critics and such, many of whom now absolutely love the band so I don’t know what that says about media pandering.. But it’s a great song with a great video, check it out if you haven’t. The 1975 is a band that’s very self aware, it knows when to take itself seriously and when not to and I think this video is a brilliant example of that.
My favourite track on the album succeeds that one, This Must Be My Dream being this 80s pop powerhouse that screams in your face, god I just love it so much. Although it doesn’t get played very often, Healy once stating he didn’t like the song because it was so hard to sing. But I mean this was before the days of Love It If We Made It and People, so what gives Matty? But the cute Paris succeeds my favourite track, and this is another one of my faves, another fan fave and recently (well as recent as the last time they were on tour – yikes) revealed to be Healy’s favourite of the album, which is a very valid statement as the song is wonderful.
I give you that acoustic rendition because one, it’s stunning, two, it doesn’t get enough recognition and three, the next 2 tracks on the album take a more acoustic approach, completely bookending the last part of the album. Nana and She Lays Down close the album on possibly some of the most personal lyrics Healy has penned down. Nana about the way Healy deals with the then-recent passing of his Grandmother, and She Lays Down about the postnatal depression his mother had just after having Healy. Two incredibly personal tracks that expose the innards of Healy’s brain even more so than some of the other deeper cuts of this album. I shan’t quote from either as I think it’s best to listen to those songs fully to respect and appreciate the messages of each, but trust my they are witheringly pulchritudinous.
ILIWYS ends there, going through various sounds and heaps of emotion and is just such a phenomenal album. One of my favourite records of all time that I know I’ll cherish till the day I die, as will so many others. ILIWYS defines a generation of woe, lust, highs and downfalls that embedded within the DNA of Healy and The 1975, manages to enchant their audience in such a way that has never really been done before. The 1975’s fanbase is something different let me tell you that, but it’s a wonderful community I’m proud to be a part of. There’s a quality of emotional imperfection that ILIWYS narrates which touches a generation of music fans. From only 5 years, the impact it’s had is immeasurable, and I really believe will keep inspiring kids for years to come.
Wolf Alice return with their highly anticipated single ‘The Last Man on Earth’
The tune sets the pace for what seems to be a turn towards the band’s roots, with the recent single giving off a similar vibe to some of their earlier songs Silk and Blush.
Although die-hard fans of the band will know a Wolf Alice album can go from breaking your heart to pure punk rock. One thing’s for sure, Wolf Alice have done it again and never cease to amaze. They really are one of those bands who just can’t write a bad song if they tried.
The band announced on Instagram the title of their upcoming third album ‘Blue Weekend’, due for release on the 11th of June. This years about to get a lot brighter, pre-order while you still can.
Three years ago today, the London-based band Insecure Men released their eponymous debut album.
After releasing two albums (Insecure Men and Karaoke for One) back to back in 2018 and wading through the subsequent touring, Insecure Men have maintained radio silence. However, rumors that the much-beloved band are due to surface in one form or another continue to buzz round the niches of the internet.
Formed in 2015, Insecure Men is composed chiefly of Saul Adamczewski (Fat White Family, Warmduscher) and Ben Romans-Hopcraft (Childhood, Warmduscher) with sax player Alex White and a rotating array of keyboardists, percussionists, back-up singers and lyricists.
In certain circles, Insecure Men are seen as veritable gods of the London alt scene—or maybe something better than gods, as the fruits of their labor are generally to be had more directly (and can be replayed until the groove wears out on the vinyl, or your Airpods die.) Their music is both soothing and thought-provoking: it makes you pay attention. It wakes you up.
Their Bandcamp bio attempts to explain their complex, layered sound: “Insecure Men…blend together exotica, easy listening, lounge and timeless pop music…”
Karaoke for One (which features a photo of Rasputin on the cover) is a record entirely composed of covers. Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl makes an unforgettably bizarre and touching appearance, in which Adamczewski’s vocals somehow manage to turn the pop ditty into something deeper, a sincere paean to a cold, unreachable lover-–up until the last five seconds, in which he spits out an exasperated, “Fuck!” followed by a hack of phlegm. That’s Insecure Men for ya, keepin’ it real.
Their debut album, Insecure Men, was produced by Sean Lennon, and features original compositions running the gamut between effervescent pop (Subaru Nights and I Don’tWanna Dance with My Baby) lilting, pseudo-Hawaiian melodies (Heathrow and Ulster) and songs to make the skin crawl (Mekong Glitter and Whitney Houston and I.)
There are many crossovers from Romans-Hopcraft’s highly acclaimed band Childhood in the instrumentation and vocals, and traces of the Fat White Family in the lyrics (often insidious subject matter delivered in dulcet tones that make you forget exactly what story you’re being told.)
During the touring efforts for the album, Insecure Men were quite vocal about their intentions to continue on as a band, going so far as to announce in an interview that they’d already written a third album. Whether or not it will be come to fruition remains to be seen, but we can certainly hope that a release date hovers on the horizon.
Insecure Men have a knack for making the roughest bits of life bearable—or at least, they succeed in provoking us to have a laugh at ourselves, to let go of seriousness and embrace the escapist pleasures of “exotica pop,” with every fibre of our beings.
And God knows, we could all use a bit of escapism right now.
You can find Insecure Men on Bandcamp and Spotify.
Lucia Fairfull, the frontwoman of Glaswegian indie pop sensations Lucia and the Best Boys, is an ‘80s haute couture fever dream.
Her constantly evolving sartorial presence keeps the group’s image in a state of constant flux, refreshing and revitalizing, but it’s her voice that’s the real star. I’ve never met anyone who’s found it directly comparable to another artist’s; it’s uniquely moving, sometimes vigorous, bright and soothing, sometimes edged with the purring rasp of a femme fatale in a noir film.
The band’s recent EP The State of Things (released in 2020), features four tracks, Perfectly Untrue, Somewhere in Heaven, Forever Forget, and Let Go.
Perfectly Untrue is the smash hit of the EP, with nearly 700,000 Spotify streams thus far, an impressive feat indeed.
(Two intriguing remixes have been made from the EP, a Forever Forget remix by Dream Wife and a Let Go remix by synth sensation Jessica Winter. Both are guaranteed to be the high point of any two a.m. solo dance party, something we’ve all gotten very used to during the series of lockdowns.)
On Let Go, Lucia’s powerful, resonant voice soars and dips into deeply satisfying husky notes. It’s a delicate, touching ballad, and the subject matter is surely content that all of us can empathize with.
Overall, they’re break-up tunes that are just as satisfying to listen to when you’re happy as when you’re heartbroken. The Best Boys manage to keep up a level of emotional relevance few bands achieve.
It’s going to be very exciting to see what this powerhouse group will accomplish next… I wait with bated breath.
If you’re looking for a cinematic journey to detach yourself from the current mundane routine of the world’s lockdown (who isn’t?!), look no further than the smooth, moody, unfiltered odyssey of King Hannah. The Liverpool based duo have had an anything but conventional start to their musical journey together. Developing from Craig’s admiration of Hannah’s solo performances, to working as colleagues in a bar, to finally writing together to produce a sound rich in realism and tailored back production.
Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle released their first single ‘Crème Brûlée’ back in September 2020 and since then released their first EP in November 2020 titled ‘Tell Me Your Mind and I’ll Tell You Mine’. The EP is centred around the details of the everyday, with quite a descriptive nature to Hannah and Craigs lyrics. Starting with an almost ominous prelude (‘And Then out of Nowhere, it Rained.’), it’s like entering into a new and uncharted world. Followed by a more humorous take with ‘Meal Deal’, taking us through the normality of a property viewing, while contemplating whether to make a housemate out of the arachnid inhabitant. Towards the end of the song, Hannah’s vocals are like flickers of light through an immersive jungle canopy of atmospheric sound and smoky instrumentals.
This is then followed by a song, which really epitomises the times we live in. Named after Mindhunter’s ‘Bill Tench’, the song carries some added energy creating a more relaxed and lo-fi feel. This really emphasises the depth to King Hannah’s production, intensifying the feeling of being taken on a journey through this EP. The emphatic ballad of the duo’s first single then follows, becoming much more expressive with drawn-out lyrics and a jaw-dropping guitar solo that you never want to end.
We are led out by a more reflective and vibrant track, ‘The Sea Has Stretch Marks’, brought to a close by an outro called ‘Reprise (Moving Day)’, combining some of the EP highlights with a muffled radio vibe.
If there is a more emblematic band for the times we live in I am yet to find them. King Hannah’s music has been a refreshing reminder that we can escape the madness and once again be enveloped by creative production techniques and bold sound. The duo has already made an impact on the stage, and now following their formal release this past November, I for one am really looking forward to seeing them back in front of the lights and creating more insightful explorations.
When being initiated into the solemn cult of PREGOBLIN devotees, there are a few house rules to memorize: the first is, PREGOBLIN must be written in all caps. If you’re any good at voice inflection, then speak it in all caps, too: it’s not that hard, and PREGOBLIN are a band that deserve special emphasis.
Waiting for a new PREGOBLIN single is like waiting for Christmas, or summer holidays—when it finally arrives it brings hours, if not days, of pure unadulterated sonic bliss. I played their 2019 single Combustion sixty-five times in the space of a week once, and nary a complaint did my family voice. You know it’s a good song when you actually want it to be stuck in your head, and you know it’s a brilliant song when both your grandmother and your coolest friend request that it make frequent appearances on playlists.
2020 saw the release of two original PREGOBLIN compositions, Gangsters and Snakes and Oranges. Both singles were accompanied with highly imaginative videos that bear watching repeatedly for full understanding, but then you’ll want to watch them more than once anyway: they’re compellingly weird, unique amongst the deluge of over-edited pap usually served up. They’re original, well-crafted and tinged with a sly humor.
PREGOBLIN are a duo composed of Alex Sebley and Jessica Winter. Sebley’s blonde, mild-mannered demeanor is the perfect foil for Winter’s dark glamour. Like chocolate and salt, they’re an unlikely yet ultimately delightful match. In a recent interview with Short Waves Radio, Sebley and Winter discussed the massive backlog of songs they’ve written together, which have yet to be recorded but will, hopefully in the near future, present themselves for our listening pleasure.
Fat White Family have dubbed them, “…the most under-appreciated songwriting partnership of our era…” I defy anyone to dispute this statement; it’s obvious judging solely from Combustion or Gangsters that PREGOBLIN deserve a couple of Grammys, several gold records and a few houses sprinkled among the world’s more desirable post codes.
You can find them on Instagram at @pregoblintv, on Spotify under PREGOBLIN (all caps, there, too, huns) and on Bandcamp.