She Lays Down
Label: Polydor Records
The Manchester foursome's debut was alternately punk-punchy and electronically enveloping; their colossal follow-up does punchy and enveloping at the same time. Barbed pop hooks like those found on "Ugh!" and "She's American" bubble up from nostalgic '80s production, which treats the band's vocals like the Jacksons' and their guitars like Peter Gabriel's; moody, ethereal sprawls like the title track preserve the band's R&B melodies in ambient slow-mo. Atop the messy, mutating jumble of sonic influences, Matt Healy keeps smashing one flirtatious diss ("You were coming across as clever/Then you lit the wrong end of your cigarette") into another.