Album Review: Years & Years – Communion

Communion by Years & Years

#aotd is Communion by Years & Years. Musically, this album is mainly comprised of Synth-Pop elements but there are also touches of House and R&B influences which spring up occasionally. My first taste of this trio was the single “Real” which is a great pop song and is still the groups best effort instrumentally. The song is driven by light but present percussion which moves at a mid-tempo while hazy synths shroud the mix. It is a song that plays on the subtleties of what makes a pop song great, if only these subtleties were present on the rest of this album. What “Real” proves is that frontman Olly Alexander doesn’t have to be belting out his, admittedly excellent, voice to keep the songs interesting. This makes tracks like “Memo” and especially “Eyes Shut” inexcusable. On “Eyes Shut” Olly puts in a boring, dry performance, but in his defence he is dragged down significantly by some seriously uninspired instrumentals. It’s not quite as dry as Sam Smith but it’s honestly getting there. So while Years & Years should probably stay away from ballads, they do come through with some wicked, danceable pop songs on Communion. You’ve probably already heard “King”, a joyous song with a hugely catchy hook and way more instrumental texture than your typical radio-friendly pop jam. The song “Worship” is similarly catchy, with some great percussion and a smooth bass line, Olly really shows off his aptitude as a performer and highlights all the best parts of his voice. Olly is at his best when he is taking on something a bit edgy and is backed by instrumentation that he can bend his voice around. The song “Desire” for example is built around a huge chorus, but where it worked in “King” it feels contrived on here and the basic instrumentation of the song gives Olly nothing to draw from. It is a serviceable pop song and Olly doesn’t sound bad by any means, but it isn’t as nuanced as the band has shown they can be. Communion is a functional debut for this much hyped trio, but outside of a few highlights there is still plenty of work to be done here.
rating: 3.1/5

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