Years & Years’ Night Call: What You Need to Know
Beginning as a trio that became the subject of much hype following their 2015 debut album Communion in 2015, Years & Years began to shapeshift three years later when the unveiling of its 2018 follow-up Palo Santo arrived alongside the announcement that it would be the last to feature Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen, who departed shortly afterwards, with Years & Years effectively becoming the solo project of frontman Olly Alexander.
This week he returns with the third Years & Years album and the first of a new era with Alexander as its sole pilot. Announced late last year, the new album Night Call makes its arrival in stores on Friday (January 21). Here’s everything you need to know…
A little background…
The first track to emerge from the new album, ‘Starstruck’, arrived back in April last year, although work was clearly still underway on the rest of the album as a follow-up didn’t arrive until September, when the release of ‘Crave’ was accompanied by the news that a third album would arrive early in the new year.
Two more new tracks followed, with ‘Sweet Talker’ delivered in January and ‘Sooner or Later’ emerging in mid-January, with a handful of UK tour dates for 2022 also announced along the way.
Who’s producing it?
Among the many contributors listed on the album are Mark Ralph, AlunaGeorge’s George Reid, Swedish electronic duo Galantis, Brighton-based production team Biffco and New Zealand’s Grammy-winning songwriter Joel Little, to name a few.
Any special guests?
The already-released single ‘Sweet Talker’ with Galantis features on the album, while on the deluxe version there’s also the track featuring Kylie Minogue, ‘A Second to Midnight’, but other than that it’s just Olly Alexander going it alone for the most part.
What does it sound like?
While it’s certainly not as huge a shift in gear as you might have expected with the departure of the previous members, Night Call does feel like a move further into pure, unadulterated pop territory. There are still plenty of tracks aimed squarely at the dancefloor –‘Starstruck’, ‘Crave’ and ‘Sweet Talker’ all fit that bill here – but elsewhere there are more R&B influences at play, especially on some of the more downtempo songs like ‘Intimacy’ and ‘Make it Out Alive’, while there are also a few dancehall flavours sprinkled on tracks like ‘Immaculate’.
Other highlights include the bouncing, swinging groove of ‘Sooner or Later’ and the moody, introspective ‘Strange and Unusual’.
Does it deliver?
Little has been said publicly about the reasons for the departure of the other two members after Palo Santo, but the shift further into bright and breezy pop territory on Night Call suggest that Alexander was intent on heading much further in that direction - perhaps too far for Goldworthy and Türkmen, who knows?
What is evident on the new album though is the sense of freedom that Alexander appears to be enjoying as a result. If you were hoping for an album of joyful, danceable pop then you’ll find plenty of it on Night Call.
Night Call is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.