The members of the 1975 are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The British band’s brand of giddy pop may seem harmless, but the quartet’s repertoire is deceptively subversive. Lurking underneath the glimmering surface sheen of the group’s music is the dark heart of a menacing art band.
The men from Manchester have balanced the radio-ready pop that quickly propelled them to stardom with more adventurous inclinations since issuing their first single five years ago. Young admirers latched onto the group’s dapper appearance and the catchy songs that initially seem little different from the disposable output of a boy band. Accordingly, the group’s live performances are greeted with the sort of ardent screams that are usually reserved for groups like One Direction.
Yet the sugary flavor of the 2013 hit “Chocolate” belies its troubling lyrics about substance abuse. The frothy 2015 single “Ugh!” addresses the adverse side effects of cocaine. The band’s sound can be similarly unruly. Much like their obvious antecedent Duran Duran, the 1975 introduces young admirers to slyly seditious funk conceived by American bands like the Isley Brothers.
The men in the 1975 also indulge in their passion for unconventional electronica. The title track of the latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet Unaware of It,” is an otherworldly sonic collage. That sort of experimentation explains why people who wouldn’t consider going to a One Direction concert will enthusiastically join a throng of delirious teens at Starlight Theatre on Tuesday.
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Tickets $35-$55 in advance at kcstarlight.com.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink