2015 has been an amazing year so far for London based three piece Years & Years. They took the title of BBC Sound of 2015, scored their first number one hit with ‘King’, and performed triumphantly on the John Peel stage at this year’s Glastonbury. But the crowning of a great band always comes with the release of their debut album. It’s make or break time, and now it’s the turn of Olly and the boys to make their opening bid. It seems to have been a long time coming, but now the debut album ‘Communion’ is finally released. It is made up of thirteen brilliantly catchy but cool electro-pop tunes. The boys have been around for a while up to the point of the album release, so several singles have already been released. All of which are included in this collection, so there is plenty to sing along with on those first few listens. It goes back as far back as those early singles ‘Real’ and ‘Take shelter,’ right up to their recent huge hits such as ‘King’ and the new single ‘Shine.’ It feels familular straight away, and it’s like watching the group growing from their infancy, right up to the hugely successful group they become, are are still becoming. The album starts off gently with ‘Foundation,’ it is a dark, moody electronic track that would give Hurts a run for their money. If you thought you knew the band from their more upbeat pop/dance stuff, then this song will introduce you to a whole new side to them.
Of course there are plenty of big dance songs included here too. Often inspired by the eighties, tracks like ‘Gold’ and ‘Ties’ seem to draw influence from early Depeche Mode and The Pet Shop Boys. Whilst early single ‘Desire’ is a huge carnival track that is impossible to listen to without jumping around with your arms in the air. All of these songs work so well when performed live, so it’s great to hear the studio versions work just as well.
Their huge number one ‘King’ almost sounds like an after thought as it is hidden away toward the latter part of the album. Even after hearing it so many times on the radio, it still sounds as fresh as the day it was released, and it’s obvious to see why it was so big. But Years & Years are such a great singles band, and most of the songs here could be released in their own right and sound just as great on the radio.
There is another side to the band not previously seen through their single releases. ‘Eyes shut’ and ‘Memo’ slow things down and prove that frontman Olly has a great range and an emotional depth to his vocals.
The deluxe version of the album is well worth getting. You get four more tracks for your money, two of which performed acoustically. ‘Ready for is’ is a piano/vocal arrangement, and is as good as anything on the main album. The second is a slowed down version of ‘King,’ which gives the familiar song a whole new feel and draws the album to a gentle conclusion.
It’s easy to see why Years & Years are getting all the attention they have; the attention they deserve. It’s even easier to see what a huge future they have ahead of them. Watch this space. They are bound to dominate next year’s award season.