When Manchester quartet The 1975 broke out in 2013 with their debut album The 1975<em (and its glammy single “Sex”), they were heralded as rock revivalists with a stylish mix of ’80s new-wave melodies and hip-swiveling grooves.</em
But on their anticipated follow-up I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, due out Feb. 26, The 1975 are going in a ’90s-style pop direction thanks to an expanded pool of influences, from D’Angelo and early Christina Aguilera to Janet Jackson producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
“You probably listen to lots of different things these days — that’s how everybody in our generation consumes music,” frontman Matthew Healy tells EW. “And I wanted to make a record that’s truly modern. My only fear ever is to be retrogressive.”
So what’s up with that wordy title? Healy recalls uttering it to a girlfriend in a, as he says, “less romantic situation than you might expect,” and it became a guiding phrase as the band wrote songs. “I informed everyone that it would be the title, and that decision fed into the ethos of the whole creation of the record,” he says.
Highlights of the album’s 17 lavishly produced tracks include the strutting Prince-style “Love Me,” the slinky, synthed-out “UGH!” and the ambient, lyric-less, dreamscape “Please Be Naked.” “It’s a very, very produced record,” Healy, who co-produced the collection, says. “It’s kind of funny — we got lumped in with all these guitar bands in the U.K. at the start, but it was like, you might as well call us a drums band or a microphone band. Guitar is the last thing we think about.”