When Olly Alexander sang in his shower in 2010, the last thing he expected was to be asked to join a band that would later rise to the top around the world, especially in the UK and Australia. Years and Years was formed by chance when Michael Goldsworthy (bassist) moved to London from Australia. He met Emre Turksmen (synthesizer) over the Internet. Olly Alexander (the lead vocalist) joined when Turksmen heard his voice over at a friend’s house as Alexander took a shower. Thus, they created a band and released their first exceptional album, Communion with an R&B style of Justin Timberlake, the hypnotic vocals of Halsey, and a twist of electronic pop, much like that of Disclosure.
Prior to the release of Communion, a string of singles were released. They later appeared on the album released on June 22, 2015 with 17 tracks. Most of the songs use electronic beats like in “Worship” and “King”.
However, some are slow and melancholy, such as “Memo” which uses instrumental music, artfully incorporating a few piano pieces. Another somber song is “Eyes Shu.t” The album expresses variety with more sensual songs like “Without,” which picks up with an audible beat later on.
All the songs talk of different aspects of love. One of my favorites is “Real,” the first single released. The chorus starts with “Oh, if I had been enough for you / Would I be better? Would I be good?” It’s astounding vocals pull at the listener’s heartstrings. “Shine” is similar in content as it talks of love but different in message as Alexander sings, “It’s you I’ve been waiting to find.” The entire album is pop, artfully using auto-tune to achieve wistful and enticing sound. The songs on Communion use repetition to evoke these sentimental feelings. Even though the sound doesn’t feel authentic, Years and Years do their job by using synthetic beats and sounds.
The album received relatively positive criticism. AllMusic describes Olly Alexander as having “an ethereal voice that still packs a soulful punch.” This contributes to the overall infrastructure to the songs with their tranquility that calms the listener. The band has received some criticism because their vocals sound similar to that of Sam Smith and others. However, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times cannot deny that Communion is “effective because it’s familiar.”
Years and Years received the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015 award for their work on Communion. They have also been nominated for many other awards, one of which is the Critics Choice Award for the 2015 Brit Awards. Overall, the album is exceptional because of its unique electronic sound and upbeat tunes. These catchy songs are bound to rise to the top in the US and will have any fangirl mesmerized by the sound of Years and Years.
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