From the onset we knew that 2015 was going to be a big year for British electro-pop group Years & Years, I mean how would it not when the BBC name you the Sound of 2015? I’ve had an up and down relationship with Years & Years so far. First I was enamoured with their fresh dance floor track “King”. Then I was annoyed when it took four months between King being on radio, youtube, soundcloud before I could actually buy it legally on iTunes. Next came the news that they would be part of the 2015 Splendour In The Grass line-up, the hype came back and I was excited.
However perhaps that hype is what has ruined the release of the group’s debut “Communion“. We’ve all been through it before. Having something being so hyped up for such a long time and then when it’s finally here it seems to fall a little flat and not live up to expectations. I’m not saying that the album is by any means horrid, there are some fair decent tracks on there, but for me it’s just decent. Not good, not bad, it’s decent.
Stand out tracks like “Shine“, “King“, “Worship” and personal favourite “Ties” round out a good heavy slab of danceable up beats tracks on the album. This is where they are strong. A good layered synth and toe tapping rhythm propels these tracks to the front of the albums tracks and keeps a good vibe about it all.
However it’s where the group deviate from the dance floor background that the album starts to take a strange turn. In the “ballads” section of the tracks from the album we have skippable mentions “Memo“, “Eyes Shut” and “Border“. For me these songs fall flat. I know that an album can’t just be upbeat get your ass moving tracks, and I know that every artist have that one ballad on an album. They’re just out of place is all. They don’t make a cohesion with the rest of the tracks, and for a ballads “Memo” and “Eyes Shut” seem to be lacking anything real. The vocals seem tired and lacking emotion for me, it’s disconnected and slightly concerning.
“Desire“, “Real” and “Without Your Love” are the other tracks on the album which I’ve taken certain liking to. “Reals” stomping kicks and catchy general rhythm of the track make it great and the hook is certainly something you’ll get stuck in your head. “Desire” is a track where I feel I need to see it live so that I can really appreciate it. It’s good, it’s a solid synth propelled track but I feel like it’s one of those songs that you appreciate more after you’ve seen it live for the first time.
It’s going to be interesting to see just what these guys do next. With the right choice of radio singles the album should get plenty of favourable attention from the general public. Their future direction though is not something easily discernible from the album. There is one thing that is certain though from listening “Communion” and it’s that Years & Years can pull off an 80’s dance floor inspired track with flare, see for yourself by watching the video for “Shine” below.