Showing posts with label years & years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label years & years. Show all posts

Monday, July 9, 2018

video review: 'palo santo' by years & years

So yeah, this was a lot better than I was expecting - definitely make the time to check this out, it's worth it!

And now for that fifth year anniversary video before (sigh) Billboard BREAKDOWN, stay tuned!

album review: 'palo santo' by years & years

So I was really harsh the last time I reviewed Years & Years, back in 2015. I think part of it was the expectation I was going to like it more than I did - electronic and synth-driven pop with prominent, forward-thinking sexual themes in the midst of a synthpop wave that really crested that year in the indie scene - but between vocals that never really gripped me, production that was more concerned with washing everything out, and lyrics that definitely trod into some questionable territory without the smarter framing to back it up. Oh sure, 'Gold' was a fantastic song that I still revisit to this day, but beyond that... I didn't really have a lot of interest when this got added to my schedule. 

That being said, I was intrigued by some of the buzz around Palo Santo, most notably that frontman Olly Alexander was doubling down on the religious iconography of his writing and flipping it for a more transgressive edge - hell, the title of the record is a name for an incense used by the Inca culture to cast out evil spirits and is loosely translated to 'holy wood'. Well, it's better than what Tove Lo did in 2016, but I'll freely admit I tend to be a sucker for religious subversion, so hopefully a few years away could lead to a more refined execution - so what did we get on Palo Santo?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

video review: 'communion' by years & years

Well, this happened. Honestly hoping this record had been better, but it happens.

Next up... honestly, not sure. Probably Jason Isbell, but it'll depend what I feel like in the morning, might cover LMNO & Mr. Brady instead. Stay tuned!

album review: 'communion' by years & years

So it's a tagline on Billboard BREAKDOWN that the 'Canadian charts are always better' - and while I'll be discussing that peculiarity a little later, I wouldn't say it's always completely true. As much as I'm a proud Canadian, I'd be lying if I said that a significant chunk of songs that are bigger hits up here are simply due to early crossover from the UK, where they tend to debut first.

So why isn't the phrase 'the UK charts are always better'? Well, quite simply, the UK Official Charts are goddamn weird. Putting aside the fact they don't have a recurring rule which can mean songs can return to the charts without warning, the smaller population means that weird oddities can surge from out of nowhere to huge success. Sometimes these oddities are awesome, most of the time they're unbelievably annoying, and there are points where I'm baffled who in their right mind thought letting this into the mainstream public was a good idea, but the wild disparity of quality means I tend to be a little wary of hits crossing from the UK.

All of that being said, the initial buzz coming for the newest album from UK synthpop/electronica trio Years & Years was extremely positive, even in a year overloaded with synthpop. The group formed in 2010, and began releasing singles in 2012, but it wasn't until 'King' went to #1 in the UK that I started taking serious notice of them and figured I might as well check out their debut album Communion, which is an amalgamation of several EPs - how is it?