Years & Years have created a confident debut album that really is something special.
2015 has been a dream year for Years & Years, with number one singles, a great festival season which took them all over the world and being named the winner of the annual Sound of 2015 BBC Poll to name just a few highlights. This all led to the release of their highly anticipated debut album, Communion, and with all the hype surrounding it, it does not disappoint. Spellbinding vocals combined with an exciting mix of synth-pop beats creates an album that will delight fans and undoubtedly win over legions more people.
The tone of the album is made clear from the very first track, ‘Foundation’, as lead singer Olly Alexander tells us about past heartbreaks. This album is not afraid of showing off all the joys and the sadness of falling in love, mixing uptempo tracks such as the number one single ‘King’ with slower tracks like ‘Memo’ to really show the emotions off. This takes the listener on a real life emotional journey, and whilst it may sound very clichéd, it is very true here; we are getting a personal insight into Olly’s life. Whilst it is not uncommon for love to take centre stage in an album, what this record does, which so many fail to do, is bring the listener into it, making the listener experience the feelings that are being sung about.
This effect is the result of a lot of hard work and it is clear when listening that there has been a great amount of production work on the album whilst never feeling over produced. Everything sounds just right, never forced to sound like something it shouldn’t be. There is a very distinctive sound throughout the album, uniquely blending soul and R&B with electro pop and synthesisers to great effect. Although this means that there aren’t any surprises when listening to the album, it benefits from having a coherent sound. Years & Years know exactly who they are and who they want to sound like, creating a confident collection.
Complimenting the extraordinary sound is Olly’s outstanding vocals on every single piece. The album explores the variety of his voice, with softer vocals on ‘Shine’ and ‘Eyes Shut’ with powerhouse vocals on others, such as ‘Worship’. This variety allows a variety of tracks to be created, mixing up ballads alongside club favourites ‘King’ and ‘Desire’, all whilst keeping the same sound that makes this trio stand out among an increasingly crowded music market. There is not a single track on the album that sounds out of place, and equally, there isn’t a track that would be out of place in the number one spot in the charts. Any single could be released and become a hit, such is the brilliance of this album.
This album really is something special, and as a debut is sensational, with everything on the album sounding perfect. With Olly singing over an excellent beat created by Emre Turkman and Mikey Goldsworthy, mixing all sorts of sounds create something unique, this has to be in the running to be one of the albums of the year. It really is worth a listen or two, or three of this five star collection.
Communion will be released on Friday 10th July via Polydor Records.