Having created a buzz in the UK already, Londoners Years & Years played their first ever Berlin show to an eager crowd. The monthly Introducing showcase has always had a good hand for picking acts that would soon become “the next big thing”. Alt-J played here before they were big and so did CHVRCHES, The 1975, and German electro-pop act Sizarr. All of them were soon big enough to play the main stage at Melt Festival which is organised by the same people who run Introducing. Years & Years have already been booked for Melt were they will play to a lot more people than the lucky 200 hundred who signed up for the guest list in time.
I had first heard about the band, then still a four piece, about 3 years ago. Years & Years released their first couple of singles on Kitsuné before they eventually dotted the line with Poldydor where their debut album will be released in June. Their first few singles, Traps, Real, and Eyes Shut, immediately clicked with me due to their combination of honest and heartfelt songwriting, steady electronic beats and, above all, Olly Alexanders’ falsetto that can easily be compared to Justin Timberlake’s. And indeed, the boy can sing. I was astonished by the way he was able to actually sound even better than on the record, which is a rare quality nowadays. This was particularly evident during the ballads Memo and Eyes Shut, for which Olly played an elextronic piano and the background instruments were reduced to a minimum.
Years & Years is a band that indeed relies heavily on their frontman – very much like The 1975, if you will. Olly Alexander is a teenage heartthrob who also has an acting career. His boyish charm easily captived the crowd, particular the female attendees, and his dance moves looked no more professional than yours or mine and still he wasn’t afraid to pull them off. All eyes were on Olly while his two band mates ,Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen, worked their synths away from the spotlight.
With all the praise I have for the band, I must admit that Years& Years’ songwriting has somewhat dipped in quality for the sake of four-to-the-floor beats and big sing-along chorus ever since they signed to Polydor. Songs like Desire, or their current single King, are prime examples for this development but success proves them right for it was those two songs that indeed garnered most cheering and sing-alongs from the crowd.
All in all, Years & Years have already exceeded the stage of “next big thing” and are bound for a busy album-touring cycle in the following months. If you are the least bit interested in electro-pop, you should check these guys out and see for yourself, they are certainly fun.