Synth-pop outfit Years & Years’ sound has been described as electropop mixing R&B and 90s house sounds. Their biggest single King from their debut record reached number one in the UK singles and made top 10 charts around the world.
With their second album PaloSanto, lead singer Olly Alexander’s creativeambition has found its pure physical pulse. Years and Years have crafted theirown special landmarks that feel intuitively connected to great British popclassicism while standing bolt upright on a world stage next to Drake, TheWeeknd and Rihanna.
The confidence that propels the full-blooded fantasia of Palo Santo connects to where we are as a country, as a world, at a stark moral cross roads, between left and right, old and young, hypocrisy and truth, rightand wrong. It is about pop music taking the reigns, steering us out of theterrestrial universe and rethinking everything from the outside. It’s about outlier pop as futurism, once more, about offering solutions when the world is failing you.
Ultimately, it is driven by a deeply personal and only occasionally otherworldly life force. “Now I’m not afraid of what people think of me,” says Olly Alexander. “That’s a new feeling for me.” Jax Jones brings a compellingly idiosyncratic approach to pop music, underpinned by a belief that pop — and house, and every other sort of music — is at its best when the rules are bent slightly out of shape. Peppered with London slang and pop culture references that didn’t always make sense to other writers who just wanted their songs to hit as many demographics as possible, Jax’ unique songs resonate with his thousands of fans.
“I try to make everything super real,” Jax says. “When youmake it colloquial and conversational it doesn’t sound like traditional writing.” And that, he says, is where the magic comes from. “I used to rein myself in,” he acknowledges. “When I was starting out in the music industry I’d be ashamed of how I spoke — this Chinese Turkish boy from south east London who could solve the mysteries of quantum mechanics, but nobody would listen because of how he spoke. It felt like a real boys’ club for privately-educated people talking about Chelsea.” And now? “Now it feels like the music industry’s gone rogue,” he grins. “One of my favouritethings about success is that I can finally act like the person I truly am.”