The album begins strong and then slithers into a mellow stupor.
This tongue-twistingly titled sophomore release from English quartet The 1975 is alternately deliriously addictive and sadly snooze-inducing. It’s a more mature and expansive effort than their 2013 self-titled debut, which was heavy on the indie pop. I Like It When You Sleep is at times sugary pop, at times soulful—and, at others, space-y and meandering: more Spiritualized than sunny. As a result, the album begins strong and then slithers into a mellow stupor.
There are 17 songs on the disc, so you’re bound to love some of them—and boy, do I. “Love Me,” “UGH!,” “She’s American,” and “The Sound” should be in constant rotation on your playlist, as they are on mine. “This Must Be My Dream,” “Paris,” and “Nana,” although not quite as upbeat, are still examples of the band’s depth, as well as the range of Matthew Healy’s flexible, fluid, rubberband voice.
There are definite ’80s influences, such as the early-OMD–driven “A Change of Heart” and the Jesus and Mary Chain–inspired “The Ballad of Me and My Brain.” More dreamy, yet still with substantial lyric lines, are “If I Believe You,” and “Loving Someone,” the latter of which is moody and ethereal, kind of like a pensive dancefloor trance track.
The more instrumental numbers, though, are the stuff of dreams—you know, the ones in which much of nothing happens. They’re nice enough as background music, but when you want to roll down the windows and crank the tunes, they just don’t cut it.
I Like It When You Sleep closes with the acoustic “She Lays Down.” The album goes out with a whisper, almost as if it doesn’t want to say goodbye. Unfortunately, by the time this song hits, I’ve moved on to something else. B- | Laura Hamlett