And here we go again. This year’s much-vaunted, most-hyped release, top of all 2015 lists (including our own) and carrying more expectation than a Rihanna beef. We’ve all fallen for that voice, we’ve all double-dropped to the sound of those club-filling choruses, and some of us have even had inappropriate dreams about Olly Alexander. But despite all that, Years & Years have recently dulled their own shine with a middling live show; does Communion bring together all the elements that have made their name so hallowed in such rapid time?
The short answer is yes, but not without a few caveats. It’s actually quite interesting to see that their live set contains so many speed-bump ballads when their debut record is a far more kinetic piece of work. The singles are all present and correct, banger status being fulfilled through tracks like Desire, Worship, and King. Clearly, the trio are very much deserving of the success they’ve achieved.
But even listening to those three songs outlines the pattern emerging with almost every Years & Years track (including the very excellent stadium-sized Gold and Ties). Olly Alexander’s dexterous vocals invariably contort themselves over a 90s-indebted house-pop beat. There’s a standard-issue arms-aloft drop, Alexander’s cadence on a chorus becomes largely predictable, and there’s very little insight imparted beyond chart-friendly couplets.
Communion, then, isn’t an album that takes risks (apart from perhaps the majestic detour that is Memo). But it doesn’t need to, because the pop it does serve is of such high quality and so feelgood that it’ll do as spectacularly as it ought. And though the title suggests spirituality, there’s very little of that to be found here. Instead it’s more an introduction to their church, a small taste of something holy before we’re properly fondled for years and years to come.
Communion by Years & Years can be ordered here.