Given that Years & Years first formed in 2010, you could say their name perfectly describes how long it has taken for their debut album to be released. Communion finally sees this year’s winners of the BBC’s Sound Of.. Award delivering a full-length electro-pop record.
As far as openers go, ‘Foundation‘ is rather weak; it feels over-indulgent and its lack of beat means it’s instantly forgettable. Fortunately, ‘Real‘ hears frontman Olly Alexander’s soulful voice set over clapping rhythm and deep synths, pulls you straight in.
‘Shine‘, the trio’s latest single, exudes light with lyrics such as “it’s you that I’ve been waiting to find” reflecting happiness at finally finding the perfect lover. Fluttering beats in abundance, this song is perfect for summer.
Most listeners will be familiar with ‘Take Shelter‘ which, along with fellow single tracks ‘King‘ and ‘Desire‘, featured on the Y & Y EP released earlier this year. Although King was the only one to take the coveted top spot in the charts, all three showcase the group’s sleek production. With the addition of steel drums on Take Shelter and Desire, the singles are all club-ready and addictive earworms.
An unexpected gem is Eyes Shut, one of only two ballads on the album. Although Olly‘s vulnerability is palpable on other tracks, his feigned strength with “nothing’s gonna hurt me with my eyes shut” accompanied by stripped-back instrumentals expose his emotion even more. The song’s ballad counterpart comes in the form of ‘Memo‘ where Olly executes a perfect falsetto. It’s a far cry from the punchy synths found on the majority of Communion but it’s certainly a standout track for all the right reasons.
With Olly at the forefront, this group are dominating both the charts and the touring scene. However, without keyboardist Emre Turkman and bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, the signature Years & Years sound of irresistible electronic-pop goodness would have no basis. Let’s hope they keep on delivering and don’t take another five years to release the follow-up record.