The 1975

January 12, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

“You learn a couple things when you get to my age,” sings charismatic, complicated 1975 frontman Matty Healy in Give Yourself A Try, the first single from by the Manchester pop-rock outfit in two years.

“I found a grey hair in one of my zoots,” the 29-year-old continues, his gentle tones becoming acidic, sardonic even. “Like context in a modern debate I just took it out/The only apparatus required for happiness/Is your pain and f***ing going outside.”

Scratchy and rawer than before, it's a song about the commodification of emotions, ageing and having the guts to grow up. The band have been together since their mid-teens, Healy meeting bass player Ross Macdonald, guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel at Wilmslow High School in Cheshire in the early 2000s. Their early gigs were mostly as a punk covers band before setting up Dirty Hit, a label created to share their own material with the world.

Since then, they've scored number one albums with 2013's self-titled debut and 2016's I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (which topped both the UK

chart and the US Billboard 200), performed in arenas around the globe and given numerous awards, not all of them positive.

Indeed, in 2014, The 1975 were named worst band at the NME Awards. At the awards two years later however, they were given the best live act gong. And The 1975 are a divisive band, detractors characterising their attention to design and aesthetics as “style over substance”, the lyrics of early hits such as Chocolate and Girls as “shallow” and a sizeable contingent of their fans as an over-excitable teenage mob.

The last can be easily dismissed: there are no rules, thankfully, about which bands people are allowed to like, less how they should behave at concerts. Complaining that The 1975 are “a boy band” adored by “screaming fan girls” sounds too much like sour grapes and sexism, and the fact that Healy once presented One Direction with The Sound – a track which went on to be his band's biggest hit from I Like It When You Sleep – tells you he doesn't think writing catchy songs is something to be ashamed of.

Perhaps the tension comes from The 1975 straddling two worlds: that of supposedly authentic, credible indie rock and that of mainstream pop, where imperfections are airbrushed and little seems of much consequence.

If those distinctions ever mattered at all, they hold even less weight in the pick 'n' mix era of streaming where listeners can splice playlists spanning emo, Gospel, r'n'b and 1980s chart music (all admitted influences on The 1975) with a couple of clicks. As one reviewer remarked of Give Yourself A Try, it “solidifies them as an ironic pop group masquerading as a sincere rock band—or, whenever they feel like it, vice versa”. That single was the first of five to be released from November 2018's A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, the first of two albums to be released in quick succession.

Compared to Radiohead's OK Computer in terms of scope, ambition and themes of technological alienation, it's already won over some doubters. Set for release at the end of May 2019 is Notes On A Conditional Form, a record originally intended as a side project named Drive Like I Do.

Healy finds it fitting that the end of the 2010s will coincide with his band having put out four albums and him turning 30. “The end of an era,” he said recently. “And we've been the pop band of this decade.”