Sound — 9
Great album, was thoroughly surprised at how good it actually was. I bought it after hearing "The City" on the FIFA 2014 soundtrack soon after the game's release - and love pretty much every (proper) track. The only exception being "Talk" which just didn't do it for me. The guitars, bass and drums are almost simplistic in sound but create a really nice, layered atmosphere and this works very well - especially the use of the synth pad in place of drums in some parts.
As a guitarist, I am a fan of their guitar work. I tend to play a lot of loud, rock and heavy metal, whereas the guitar parts throughout this album are simple and effective. It has made me wish that I focused more on this side of guitar playing when I first started out - instead of diving straight into the heavy stuff. I actually find it difficult to come up with material in this style - which really put my overall ability into an new perspective.
Lyrics — 10
Overall, the lyrical themes, word play and delivery really appealed to me - as well as the language used and juxtaposition of harsh themes of sex, drugs, morals and other social/awkward situations combined with happy/upbeat music in some songs. The fact that a lot of them are derived from the band member's own experiences - and that they are also British and use a lot of typical British slurs, northern accents and colloquial language is a nice touch. As a vocalist, Matt Healey nails it. I much prefer his style to a lot of the harsh metal styles I listen to.
Overall Impression — 10
Still being a fan of hard rock/metal genres (as well as a lot of chart hits), this is one of the first "different" albums I have specifically ventured out to buy - as opposed to downloading a few tracks from iTunes or borrowing from a friend (spending 4 years as a student doesn't allow much for spending on CDs).
The main appeal was that it was different to most things I had heard - although the songs and styles employed could be compared to similar ones from Coldplay and other indie-sounding bands and The 1975 could almost be labelled as a pop band in my opinion (not that that is a bad thing). However, their songs stand out to me more than the likes of Coldplay etc...
For me, the best songs from the album are: "The City," "Sex," "Girls," "Menswear," "She Way Out," "Heart Out," "Chocolate," "Settle Down" and "Robbers." Pretty much all of them. However, "M.O.N.E.Y." and "Pressure" are good too, just not as strong as the rest. Talk is the only song I actually skip - every album has one, and this is it. Could not think of a bad thing to say about the album as a whole except maybe the interlude songs - "An Encounter" and "12" - although they create a decent ambience, some other unreleased material could have been put in - such as "Milk" or "Antichrist." But I suppose that's what the Deluxe Editions are for. Would highly recommend.