There’s a few things that you tick off along the way when you’re a hyped band to validate that you’re on the right track. Infiltrating the blogs, winning over the critics and scoring a number one single are all good indicators but perhaps the biggest is playing a sold out show in New York City.
Brits Years & Years are yet to really crack the charts in the US but they have managed a number one single in the UK with King and last night at (Le) Poisson Rouge it seemed as if the hype had traveled the seas. A packed out room stood waiting for the band to take the stage for the last show of their US tour, many of them donning Years & Years crowns.
Taking to the stage with Take Shelter it was immediately clear how the band have kicked so many goals in such a short amount of time. They oscillate between soul, pop and house music, effortlessly borrowing the good elements of commercial music and blending the, together to make something delectable. Take Shelter also confirms that the band have already developed a small but dedicated following in the US – one that know all their released material inside out.
Though frontman Olly Alexander was clearly suffering from illness, coughing in between songs, he still managed to push through and deliver silky smooth vocals complete with dance moves. He’s shy, but there was a quiet confidence poking through as he hurled his arms around the air in the dance breaks of each of the tracks.
The band continued to fire out gold for the entirety of the night offering a short but impressive set that made it impossible to believe that they haven’t even released their debut LP. Memo offered a beautifully solemn moment, one where we got to truly hear Alexander’s vocal capabilities while early track Real brimmed with popping beats and a brilliant chorus that found a perfect balance between RnB and electronica.
The few new songs they played sat much in the same lane as what we’ve heard from them before, only extending the belief that the band have more than just one hit single up their sleeves from their forthcoming album Communion. Even Worship which is only a matter of weeks old found huge favour with the crowd as they elevated its gospel-flavoured chorus. Many of Years & Years’ songs are crafted around those types of hands-in-the-air moments that can only be properly realised when the whole crowd is on board.
Things really heated up for the final few songs of the set kicking off with the strobing bass of Desire. Desire sits in the dance lane more so than any of their other tracks and that works strongly to their favour in the live arena. It was the first true jumping moment if the night and the band lapped up the ramped-up energy.
After a short and perhaps unnecessary break the band returned for an encore of their massive hit King. The song with it’s howling synths and meteoric chorus rightfully provided the golden moment of the night. The crowd sang ever word back with mighty passion, giving the sense that it won’t be long before this infiltrates the charts in the US (it’s slowly doing so in Australia).
Years & Years’ best sets are yet to come as they’re set to join the European festival circuit armed with a debut album but their New York show provided a short showcase that one, proved we should believe the hype and two, built excitement for what will be one of the best selling debuts of the year. Rarely has pop music ever sounded this good and come so guilt-free.