When reviewing previous albums by Manchester band, The 1975 over the last few years it is common to hear reviewers say with some surprise, “it’s actually pretty good”. Lead singer Matty Healy always seems to be trying a bit too hard with his tales of promiscuous sex and drugs. Effortlessly cool this is not. However, several singles released through 2018 that all appear on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships were quite a bit more than “pretty good”.
After a sub two-minute introduction, the band is off and running with “Give Yourself A Try” and its squiggly guitar. “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” is the kind of daft relationship pop song that Sugar Ray used to do so well in the 90s before the glitchy “How to Draw/Petrichor”. Pitchfork song of the year “Love If We Made It” comes in like a bomb with Healy declaring “we’re f**king in a car, shooting heroin…”. Heroin makes another appearance on single “It’s Not Living If It’s Without You”, that is easily masked by one of the breeziest melodies on the album.
Radiohead comparisons abound on the Siri/computer voiced “The Man Who Married a Robot/Love Theme” and the guitar line on ballad “Surrounded by Heads and Bodies” is airlifted straight off OK Computer. The pacing on the second half of an Inquiry can get murky with several just OK ballads appearing in quick succession. Lopping off three lesser tracks would have made for a leaner album but the four absolute smash singles is enough compensation for the extra run time.