The 1975 is a band that's full of surprises. Just by looking at their name, you might assume that their music hearkens back to the era of Bowie and Zeppelin. And if you've only heard their hit single, "Sex," you might think that all of their music has the same longing, lust-driven alt-rock urgency that was all the rage six or seven years ago.
Once they started their set at the Doug Fir Lounge this Monday, however, the Mancunian quartet quickly dispelled such notions. Their name may make you think "disco", but their sound is pure eighties. With lilting, high-pitched vocals, poppy guitar hooks, and catchy synth beats (making them sound almost like a male-fronted version of CHVRCHES), most of The 1975's songs play like they belong on the soundtrack to a long-lost John Hughes film. It's unexpected, but it's a sound that works for them.
Unfortunately, the band's live performance was a bit uneven. Although they played a solid set, the show dragged at times, and it seems like they haven't learned to channel the raw energy of "Sex" into their other songs. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be Portland's final word on The 1975. At the end of the show, lead singer Matthew Healy noted that they plan to come back to P-Town in spring of next year. Hopefully they'll have some new surprises for us, when they return. In the meantime, I'm gonna go look for my Breakfast Club DVD.