Live Review

Years & Years, Village Underground, London

21st June 2014

It’s clear that Years & Years are an act in bloom.

Having steadily warmed hearts across the past months with a glowing repertoire of glossy electro-pop and emotive R&B, it’s clear that Years & Years are an act in bloom, so it’s little surprise to see the fresh-faced trio billed for a candy-coloured Kitsuné showcase on the evening of summer solstice.

It’s as clear as day from the offset that shining frontman Olly Alexander is a performer made for the stage. His years as an actor might play some part in that, but the humble excitement and playfulness lining his toothy smiles leave no doubts as to why the audience have stars in their eyes. “I’m so happy to see you all here, I didn’t think anyone was going to show up”, he says, as peaking icebreaker ‘Foundation’ marks an animated opening to this radiant show.

The club setting is wholly conducive to Years & Years’ kaleidoscope of pop magnetism – their shows often move through the gears with the smoother dynamics of Olly’s soulful piano ballads, but they keep it upbeat for this performance. With that kind of ambidexterity it’s easy to gauge the musical depth this band possess. They play their cards right – a cover of Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul’s ‘Breathe’ erupts as a mass sing-a-long to tear the whole house down. And with the dancehall vibe of new single ‘Take Shelter’ following, the atmosphere stays pumped.

With endearing grace they eventually wind up to climactic show-closer ‘Real’, but only after Olly’s luminous charm melts the crowd once again. It’s dedicated to their “crazy-talented” producer Andy Smith, who performs later on the bill as Lxury, and it is a sweet moment to top off a sugar-scattered performance. ‘Real’ is a phantasm of beaming melodies and explosive choruses that boast a glimmering truth: these boys are set to go solar - get swept away as soon as you can.

Tags: Years & Years, Reviews, Live Reviews

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