Before PressPLAY gets down to any main event, we do like a good starter. Which is why, unusually for one of our live reviews, we’ve decided to devote the first bit to the utterly fantastic Years & Years, opening for Say Lou Lou in London’s XOYO.
Lead singer Olly spearheads a charming assault of electronic pop – the bashful patter in between is a complete contrast to the confident way each song is delivered. There are melodies galore, ready-made hits waiting to be heard, and a genuinely exciting talent in the form of this London trio. You heard it here first.
Meanwhile, Aussie-Swedish sister act Miranda and Elektra Kilbey, aka Say Lou Lou, saunter on stage practically bubbling, but that effervescence doesn’t really translate into their performances. Sure, there are some great sounding songs in there – Fool Of Me sounds wonderful in this setting, Peppermint has potential – but at the moment there isn’t anything remarkable about the voices or the live act. Harmonies are often shouted-out, and there’s a telling lack of co-ordination when the duo lose time with each other on the otherwise-brilliant Tame Impala cover, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.
The standout, as expected, is the never-ending beauty of Beloved (which we named as one of our top tracks of 2013); in fact, the finest moment of the evening comes when Elektra gently coos those heartbreaking last lines with minimal backing. Other than that? Clearly a band with strong pop potential but, to paraphrase their current single, maybe some of it really does just sound Better in the Dark. Of the studio, that is.