Years & Years @ Albert Hall, Manchester

Modern day electro-pop is sometimes accused of being empty and forgettable – such descriptions cannot be applied to the genre’s latest sensation Years & Years. 

The London-based trio brought their sell-out Communion tour to the magical Albert Hall on Sunday evening, and treated thousands of adoring fans to a triumphant set full of equal measures of euphoria and sophistication. 

Given the brilliance of the trio’s singles King, Shine and Desire, the starry-eyed crowd could have been forgiven for standing patiently during renditions of mediocre album tracks.

The performance of Shine, a certain contender for song of the year, was worth the admission price alone.

But Years & Years have much more to their arsenal than a modest handful of pop gems. 

Led by frontman Olly Alexander, the guys collaborated to produce just over an hour of lush, stadium-sized sound more typical of established synth-acts with decades of performing experience under the belt. 

Gold and Worship, tracks which could comfortably hold their own as credible singles, were delivered slick and with gusto, leaving even the more reserved pockets of the crowd with no choice but to wrap their lungs around the infectious hooks and melodies. 

Perhaps the most impressive element of the gig however was not the band’s well-documented ability to raise the roof at the strike of a chord but the ease at which they effortlessly fluttered between moods.

With Olly at the piano and lights dimmed, ballads Eyes Shut and Without exposed the band’s sentimental side, performed with more than enough grace and sincerity to not be mistaken for romantic gush. 

The mothers in the room were rewarded for their fine parenting with a cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic

Spears, incidentally, had become a theme of the evening, with must-see support act Tove Stryke pulling off an incredible cover of Baby One More Time.

Midway through Years & Years’ set a moment of technical difficulty forced shy Olly into conversation with the crowd – “awful stage banter” (his words not mine) for which he apologised minutes later.

Yet it is the humility of the band which makes them such a welcome breath of fresh air.

Throughout every minute of the evening, each member looked just as star-struck by the occasion as the delighted thousands in front of them – Olly, as the bands spokesperson, taking every opportunity to extend thanks to Manchester. 

But if the band aren’t yet used to stardom then they will have no choice but to become acquainted sooner rather than later.

This humble bunch has all of the ingredients to be a headline act for years and years to come.

Image courtesy of Tauron Nowa Muzyka, with thanks.

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