14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Crafting pop songs is such a mysterious science,” Olly Alexander, frontman of London synth-pop trio Years & Years, told Apple Music. Their 2015 UK chart-topping debut, Communion, demonstrated that it’s a science he’s mastered, yet the songwriter was avoiding the difficult things about his sexuality he really wanted to say. "I was a little bit scared,” he confessed, but his band’s follow-up wastes no time exploring more uncomfortable terrain. Pulsating opener “Sanctify” details his complex relationships with straight-identifying men, while “If You’re Over Me” unlocks the pain of rejection. Palo Santo’s title references a South American incense known for its healing powers, and Alexander hopes that tracks exploring sin and sexuality might likewise help conflicted fans accept themselves for who they are. “For anybody listening,” he said, “I just hope it makes them feel inspired to get a little freaky, be a little weirder, and be a little sensual.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Crafting pop songs is such a mysterious science,” Olly Alexander, frontman of London synth-pop trio Years & Years, told Apple Music. Their 2015 UK chart-topping debut, Communion, demonstrated that it’s a science he’s mastered, yet the songwriter was avoiding the difficult things about his sexuality he really wanted to say. "I was a little bit scared,” he confessed, but his band’s follow-up wastes no time exploring more uncomfortable terrain. Pulsating opener “Sanctify” details his complex relationships with straight-identifying men, while “If You’re Over Me” unlocks the pain of rejection. Palo Santo’s title references a South American incense known for its healing powers, and Alexander hopes that tracks exploring sin and sexuality might likewise help conflicted fans accept themselves for who they are. “For anybody listening,” he said, “I just hope it makes them feel inspired to get a little freaky, be a little weirder, and be a little sensual.”

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About Years & Years

Showcasing the melismatic vocals of Olly Alexander, London's Years & Years artfully combine '80s-style ambient synth pop with funky electronic beats. The group came together in 2010 in London when multi-instrumentalists/producers Michael Goldsworthy and Emre Türkman met online while looking to start a band. They eventually added vocalist and actor Alexander after hearing him singing at a friend's house while taking a shower. The trio's keyboard and electronics-based sound first gained exposure when the single Traps was released on Kitsuné Music in 2013. The group's second EP, Real, came out in February 2014, and with some impressive live dates under their belts, Years & Years announced they had signed a deal with Polydor.

Their first major-label single, Take Shelter, appeared in August 2014, followed by a collaboration with the Magician on Sunlight a month later and by the release of Desire in November. In 2015, on the heels of winning the prestigious BBC Sound Of award, Years & Years released their debut full-length album, Communion. Well received, the album debuted at number one in the U.K., and peaked in the Top 50 of the U.S. Billboard 200. The following year, they were nominated for four BRIT Awards and contributed the single "Meteorite" to the Bridget Jones' Baby soundtrack. In 2018, they returned with the Kid Harpoon-produced single "Sanctify." ~ Rich Wilson

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