Album Review: Years & Years – Communion

praises the intelligent, club-friendly debut effort of Olly Alexander and Co

Rating:  ★★★★☆

It feels like only yesterday I was irritably criticizing the typical eurotrash anthems adored by the marketing team. However it seems me and the whole country were gripped upon hearing ‘King’ blasting from the television sometime back in March. After winning the BBC Sound of 2015 poll in January, Years and Years went on to later claim the top position in the UK singles chart. Furthering their success, their follow up single ‘Shine’ debuted at number two.

It’s undeniable there are some instant club smashes on ‘Communion,’ even on the first listen. The snappy fast paced synthpop beats of ‘Desire,’ ‘Real’ and ‘Gold’ are  juxtaposed by the darker vocal performance provided by frontman Olly Alexander. Despite maintaining  an effortless performance throughout the record, Alexander’s vocals somehow manage to simultaneously resonate a soothing sense of heaviness and fatigue. This only enhances the cleverly packaged lyrics which handle the often over-used themes of heartbreak, jealousy and confusion in a fresh and vibrant manner.

One consistent strength within the album is the gradual fashion the songs build upon the humble initial notes at the five second mark, almost always evolving into daring and vivid choruses. The slower tracks ‘Eyes Shut’ ‘Without’ and ‘Memo’ make  for pleasant breaks between the more upbeat songs, sometimes nostalgically echoing noises similar to those produced by a Game Boy.

There may not be anything to take listeners aback purely due to innovation or originality, and occasionally after enough repeats the album does begin to sound slightly repetitive. Having said this, there is still plenty to enjoy here, and the final package is nothing short of an outstanding debut album. By channelling the emotional complexities which accompany many relationships in the 21st century, Years and Years have refined these into a polished and euphoric collection of infectious tunes, which  no doubt will continue to cause the remainder of the chart to pale in comparison.

Aside from all of that it’s nice to finally have something decent to belt out in the club.


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