Years & Years (and Years)


It took some rough sailing on a choppy sea of ticket websites before I bagged two tickets to see Years & Years at Heaven in London this  March (five times the face value you say? Get lost!).

As my confessional tweet below from a few weeks ago testifies, I'm horribly late to the Years & Years party - the band have been gaining traction for a while now with music moguls predicting they will hit the big time any day soon.

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I didn't know a lot about Years & Years at the time of said tweet. I hadn't intended to leap onto the cool bandwagon and join the hip kids for the sake of it. I was just naturally curious because (a) I love checking out new music and (b) I've rinsed my current running playlist (there is only so many times you can listen to Beyonce's Drunk in Love no matter how amazing it is and yes, the playlist also contains Dirrty by Christina Aguilera  - and what?).

I was interested because their music was described as being rooted in 'R&B and 90s house elements' and, well, they had me at 'R&B' and then '90s'. Nothing has ever come close to beating my Pure Swing cassette compilations back in the day, when cassettes were not ironic but a widely available music format. In my burgundy pink Fiat Uno in 1995, blaring Jodeci out of the only window that would open all the way down I honestly thought I was the shit. The shit, I was not.

Anyway, I digress, On first listen of Years & Years' Take Shelter my ears perked up and I gorged all of the available online stuff in one huge feast. It was really bloody good, like nothing I'd heard for a long time. Their sound is all infectious beats and synth sounds, soulful harmonies and a kind of easy nonchalance that appears seamless, not try-hard. They pull off energetic 90s dance in Desire, which reminds me of Good Life by Inner City, just as well as they do haunting and beautiful with Memo.

Years & Years are Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen. They were crowned The Sound of 2015 in the respected BBC Music poll and upcoming shows at the Shepherd's Bush Empire and Heaven in London have sold out. No doubt festival appearances will be ahead, which is exciting. I'm gutted I missed them at 2014's Latitude which I attended. What on earth was I doing? Piddling about getting beers and having glitter painted onto my drunk face no doubt.

I have redeemed myself. The Heaven gig's only a few weeks away and I have the standard frenetic excitement I associate with live gigs, but with an added anticipation that comes with hearing the real thing live after umpteen listens on SoundCloud. I'm slightly nervous about how horribly uncool I'll look compared to other giggers, who I assume will be an army of fabulous hipsters resplendent in 90s gear. I'm considering busting out some original Naf Naf;  surely that's come around again?

If after reading this you're curious, check out Years & Years on SoundCloud and sign up for updates and free downloads via their website. For the true 90s freaks, their cover of Blu Cantrell's Breathe is fun and better than the original in my opinion. Take Shelter, Real (with Ben Whishaw dancing in the video) and Memo are my current standout tracks.

Time will tell if the band have longevity in a crowded and sometimes fickle music market but with a Critic's Choice Award nomination at the 2015 BRIT awards, new single King out on 1 March 2015 and a debut album out in June 2015, my money's on Years & Years.