Years & Years – Communion

CommunionThere’s an awful lot of hype surrounding Years & Years right now. Having the hottest record, being critics’ choice and one to watch must be as exciting as it is daunting. Hand in hand with all this build up comes a pressure to excel in the debut album stakes.

It’s been an eventful couple of years for Olly, Michael and Emre: releasing music first through French and Danish labels, facing line-up changes and signing to Polydor, culminating in Years & Years being named BBC Sound of 2015, and finally being propelled into the spotlight with a number one single. Their debut, Communion, has an edge and a lot more depth than the singles that have thus far been commercially released. Soulful electro-pop, chilled house and 90s dance sewn together with tight production, enchanting vocals and proper lyrics all feature here.

You could break the album down into two movements - the first starting with epic opener "Foundation", a choral sound with the distinct sombre distortion of Faithless. If you forget about its slight melodic similarity to "Chasing The Sun" by The Wanted, "Shine" allows a glimmer of euphoria to emerge, albeit subtly. The repetitive beat of "Take Shelter" has a tinge of dance hall to lift it, but "Eyes Shut" allows you to catch your breath; piano and strings, layered underneath beautiful r'n'b vocals and incredibly emotional, vulnerable lyrics. If there’s one to listen to on repeat it’s this - it’s the closest to a ballad you’ll get from an electro pop trio.

"King" and "Desire" back to back kick off the second movement, followed by "Gold", which has a very similar sound to its predecessors. "Without" is a return to the upbeat r'n'b; think a more mature version of Hellogoodbye’s "Here In Your Arms", mixed with the delicious vocals of Jussie Smollett on Empire. Closing track "Memo" has a well timed chill-out end of the night vibe, to accompany you in that moment you’re starting to drift and leave the party. In the old days you’d probably sit and wait for an hour for the hidden track. Spoiler alert - the hidden track doesn’t come, but the lingering feeling that this is far from over remains, leaving you to wait in anticipation for their next release, whenever that may be.

What comes next from the young London trio is an exciting prospect, and hopefully the so-called difficult second album will be something they can be equally as proud of.

Release: 10th July 2015, Polydor

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