It would easy to disregard The 1975. Four white-boys with guitars. Mind-blowing, I know. These days if you don't have some sort of 'quirk factor' it seems the world isn't interested and to be fair, why should it be? We've had our fill of 'rock bands', so much so that we've turned it into a game. Living in 2018 is like living in a world that is at once ironic pastiche and post-modern day-dream and it's somewhere between this dichotomy that The 1975 manage to flourish.

A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the bands third full-length record, sees the band perfect their 'millenial' sound, by not being any one thing. If you were to define The 1975 as anything it would be as the sound of the 'don't define me generation'. Initially written off by many as just another 'pop-rock' band with a militant like following of teenage girls, both A Brief Inquiry and I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware Of It are testaments to the Manchester bands ability to make a statement. This is Peter Gabriel meets Justin Bieber meets Cole Porter and most importantly; it's a heck of a lot of fun. 

Matthew Healy's often extroverted approach to being an introvert make for some of his best lyrics as he tackles everything from his own addiction to black lives matter. On the pulsating bubble-gum pop of 'TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME' he discusses the relationship insecurities that arise in an Instagram world, "you pick a fight, and I'll define it", are the kind of manic thoughts we can all relate to. "Love It If We Made It' is a nostalgia trip right out of a John Hughes movie which sees Healy shout-sing about the state of the world, "Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men," though the repetitive plea like chorus of "Modernity has failed us, and I'd love it if we made it" injects his genuine hope into it.

The idea of being genuine seems somewhat of a concern for The 1975 on this record. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, as you might expect, explores a world where the line between real and virtual connections is often blurred. 'The Man Who Married A Robot/Love Theme' is a striking example of this desire for reality. An AI love-letter narrated by SIRI complete with fairy-tale strings and light piano arpeggios it shows a desperate need for connection. Healy himself has always been in on the joke that is 2018, "And irony is okay, I suppose culture is to blame, you try and mask your pain in the most post-modern way...it's just a self-referential way that stops you having to be human," he comments on the reality reflecting neo-soul of 'Sincerity Is Scary'.

As a band who are quick becoming megastars – rightfully so – this is their social commentary album, but what The 1975 have done is make the personal, universal. This could have been ‘the heroin’ record quite easily and while there’s plenty of reference to it here; “If I knew what you’d do, collapse my veins wearing beautiful shoes,” it never feels contrived or glorified. If anything Healy’s chaotic presence is the anchor of this record and turbulence it takes us through; both personal and political. The slick production has pulled out all the stops and it’s hard to imagine this record alienating anyone; don’t like the thick auto-tune experimentation of ‘How to Draw/Petrichor’, no problem; there’s always the hushed acoustic heartbreak of ‘Be My Mistake’ with its unflinching portrait of life on the road. Blasting its way through genre this is a record on a cinematic scale and the widescreen, stadium, power chords of ‘Inside My Mind’ and explosive finale ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ draw the curtain down, leaving you wanting.

A Brief Inquiry is a record of substance that manages to both poke fun at and be a product of its time. The 1975 might be white-boys with guitars, but they're so much more than that.