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YEARS
&YEARS

OLLY ALEXANDER GIVES US EVERYTHING WE CRAVE ON SOLO BOW

TEXT BY
MAXIMILLION FOY

21.01.22

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New Year’s Eve 2022 will go down as a tent-pole moment in LGBTQ+ history, as well as the career of one Olly Alexander aka Years & Years. At the BBC’s annual countdown to midnight, mainstream Britain was treated to a multicolored celebration of gender, sexuality and music like never before. Sure we’ve had Elton and a smattering of the old guard ring it on over the years, but this felt different. As 2021 rolled over to 2022, the changing of the year felt like a changing of the guard - and Olly Alexander was leading the charge. 

 

Suddenly this virtuoso performer was on the biggest stage, in front of millions. He’s flirted with this kind of success before (across two beloved dance/pop albums, and a starring role in on the acclaimed channel 4 drama it’s a sin), but as Olly frolicked on stage with Legends like Kylie Minogue and the Pet Shop Boys, it became virtually impossible to deny that the lad with an inescapable smile is on course for world domination. Olly now looks to capitalize on his big bow with a brand new Years & Years album entitled ‘Night Call’.

 

Inspired by the alluring worlds of clubbing and hook up culture, the nocturnal groove of ‘Consequences’ opens up the album in sultry style as a new era in Years & Years history is ushered in. This is, of course, the first album that Olly will release as a solo project without former bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Erme Turkmen, and this opener sees Alexander marking his territory. The track heaves and throbs with self assured and explorative charisma that acts as both an introduction to Years & Years, as well a jumping off point for things to come. The track ends with a hedonistic explosion of synth heavy pop ecstasy, that blends exquisitely into the record's lead single - ‘Starstuck’.

Bursting into life, like biting down on a handful of pop rocks, the zest and flavor of the album comes fizzing out in full force. Starstruck is a glorious celebration of animal attraction, that kiss on the dance floor that we all crave as the clock strikes midnight. This theme continues with the title track Nightcall - as we take that kiss, and contemplate taking the party somewhere else. 

 

The tone of the album shifts for the next couple of tracks as we explore what comes after the chemical high of the club. ‘Intimacy’ is possibly the most appropriately named track of the bunch as it dives under the covers for some devilishly passive-aggressive foreplay. This tense composition leads us seductively into the glorious throb of ‘Crave’ and the release of all that pulsating sexual energy which has been building since track one. In fact, the whole album  can be seen as one big night on the town, and that makes it instantly relatable to both clubbers and hopeless romantics. We’ve lived this countless times, and Olly Alexander has set that lived experience to music.  ‘Sweet Talker’ is like the cigarette after the deed is done, satisfying and brimming with accomplishment. It’s a sure fire hit that we’ll be hearing on repeat for a long time to come.

 

The next phase of tha album contains much of the record's emotional substance. Songs like ‘20 seconds’, ‘Make It Out Alive’ and ‘See You Again’ have a certain emotional resonance to them that raises the game of ‘Night Call’ beyond the level of being merely a well crafted pop album. These songs show that there is an abundance of substance here to compliment all the style on display. ‘Night Call’ is also the perfect vehicle for showcasing Olly’s stunning vocal prowess. The Years & Years talisman is so precisely in harmony with his own voice and uses it to tease, coax and ultimately soar, conveying the meaning behind every syllable.

 

The closing third of this 15 track opus retreads many of the themes and styles as ‘Night Call's opening salvo, and is filled with some mightily impressive tracks in its own right. ‘Immaculate’ is a glistening slab of R’n’B, while ‘Reflection’ is a lo-fi highlight with its swirling choral harum and Timbaland-style snap. The album finishes up in fitting fashion with pop Goddess Kylie Minogue gracing us with her presence at ‘A Second To Midnight’, symbolically ringing in a new year, a new chapter, and a new superstar.

 

Make no mistake about it, ‘Night Call’ is the Olly Alexander show. It’s a confirmation of many of the things most of us already know, mainly that this man is the absolute embodiment of pop music in the 2020’s. As well as that, he has become an ambassador for the LGBTQ+ community who represents and celebrates our culture, our history, and (most importantly) our truth. ‘Night Call’ celebrates the dingy basement club, the sweaty animalistic trist, the innocence of first love, and the exhilaration of sexual liberation, all at the same time. 

 

‘Nightcall’ by Years & Years is available right now on all platforms.

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