Electronic music has a harder job that most of creating compelling debut albums that manage to create a balance of songs which don’t all sound that same. Luckily for London group Years & Years, they’re buoyed by a good vocalist in Olly Alexander. This helps to carry them through their slower ballads; ‘Foundation’ and ‘Without’ are potentially powerful. His voice won’t be to everyone’s taste, but given the success of their debut single ‘King’, it seems plenty of people don’t seem to mind.
The band goes for a fairly balanced musical progress in the LP, alternating from slow ballads to more up tempo songs in waves. It’s a confident approach that shows the band doesn’t feel the need to shove in their most popular song near the start only to lad later. The band explores elements of the electronic-dance-house that is everywhere on the charts. In the world of David Guetta’s, Clean Bandit’s and more, their music is not necessarily original, but is indeed a joy to listen to. ‘Shine’ and ‘Ties’ seems to be some kind of 80s/modern electronic brain child, with some pretty vocals sprinkled in. What works of the band is showing that they’re attempting more than Top 40 dance hits. Though their music is more ‘commercial’ that not, songs like ‘Take Shelter’ or ‘1977’ display some effort into exploring the balance between electronic layers and vocals.
Given the state of pop right now, it’s not a surprise that Years & Years have done so well. What is in store for them in the future seems less clear. When electronica goes out of vogue only time will tell if they can do a Taylor Swift and adapt. In terms of the right here right now, Years & Years have created a crowd-pleasing album that will appeal to current fans and still pique the interest of people on the fence.