BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years and Years bring their soulful disco pop to King Tut’s on the week that they seem set to score their first number one single, with support from the self-effacing clean cut young cockney Sam Sure.
Sure does a good job of warming up the already packed crowd, his upbeat deep house and dubstep sound created by a three-piece band, comprising of himself, a drummer and a multi-instrumental keyboard/guitar/effects technician; it seems a shame when they don’t get much recognition.
However, it’s hard to be angry at the scampish Sure, who punctuates his set with comments about how he expected to be booed when he stated he was from London, and that he thought that over the course of this tour that the crowds get better the further north you go, although what he’s maybe not realised yet is that some cities usually have great crowds and others frequently have pish ones.
Years and Years open with frontman Olly Alexander’s delicate voice rising over arpeggiated synths, it’s nearly drowned out by the screeches of teenage girls declaring their love for the waif, but it’s easy to see why they are receiving such acclaim.
Starting strongly with the 80s synth pop sounding ‘Take Shelter’ and the housey ‘Desire’, they instantly have the young crowd alternately dancing and squealing to their highly polished chart music.
There’s more than a passing resemblance to the Inbetweeners among the other band members, and once you get this in your head it becomes hard to shake the school disco feeling from the gig, despite the keyboardist getting some cool points for rocking a Faith No More tee.
Several slow soulful numbers follow, and there seems a danger that the vulnerable wee Alexander might get torn to pieces in a frenzy of Dionysian ecstasy, especially when he sits down to play a solo track on the keyboard, but fortunately the maenads manage to restrain themselves to let the band go on to finish their set with their single ‘King’.
It’s pop goes the weasel all the way here, and glancing at the previous winners of the BBC award (Adele, Ellie Golding, Sam Smith et al) you can see how Years and Years fit into this bracket, what remains to be seen is whether they can build on their inevitable pop successes and write something that will enable them to cross over into (the equally pretentious) ‘critically acclaimed serious artist’ territory.
Words: Stevie Williams