Years & Years embrace R&B, Cyberpunk on ‘Sanctify’ – Review

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By Jack

Years & Years have seen things. Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. C-Beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. Probably some Black Mirror.

The task of following up Communion was something of a poisoned chalice. When your debut is a stratospheric success – how do you cast a stone further? The answer: you side-step. ‘Sanctify’ is less pop banger, more minimalist R&B.

Not that this is some spacey, progged out nonsense. The chorus certainly has clout. However it’s a darker sound, honing back to early single ‘Take Shelter’. The big pop tunes are to come – of that there is no doubt. This is more a signal of intent.

We are seeing a persistent predisposition to worship and belief in Years & Years’ output – a worthy theme, and one that gives the synthpop sheen a little depth. ‘Sanctify’ suggests that LP 2 will be darker, motivic. We’re looking forward to finding out.

In the meantime this new track, and the accompanying video, confirm a few things we already knew. Years & years enjoy a high concept MV, and  front man Olly Alexander is a great dancer. It isn’t just a routine though – a point is being made here. Usually it would be the female diva writhing on that chair. Seeing a gay man there instead is powerful.

Plus we get a twist on the whole Philip K. Dick ‘Replicant Morality’ schtick – it’s the robots who want us to perform for them. As one such humanoid intones to Olly Alexander “I think…you are…perfect.” Oh Olly, you are modest.

‘Sanctify’ is a propulsive techno bop and a strong return to form.

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