ALBUM REVIEW: Palo Santo by Years & Years


OUT: 6/7/18

TRACKLIST: Sanctify; Hallelujah: All For You; Karma; Hypnotised; Rendezvous; If You’re Over Me; Preacher; Lucky Escape; Palo Santo; Here; Howl; Don’t Panic; Up In Flames

It’s been no secret that Years & Years have been struggling to follow up their 2015 chart-topping album Communion and now it’s here Palo Santo sounds more like frontman Olly Alexander’s debut solo album.

  • Read on for reasons including details of Tuesday’s album launch party

This is no doubt in part because while he and band members Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen shared all the writing credits on that first album they only feature together on two of the 14 songs in this selection.

Current single If You’re Over Me is a great place to start not least because it sees the band back in the top 10 for the first time in three years but also because it’s one of the catchiest songs of this summer. Releasing its parent album on the eve of London Pride is also well-timed.

Debut single Sanctify (see below) actually gives a better feel for the lyrical themes of the album as Alexander mines romantic entanglements and their painful aftermaths that show much progression from that fine debut album. The emphasis is clearly on using religious imagery to understand what is happening.

Google ‘Palo Santo’ and you’ll find a literal translation is ‘holy wood’ and this encompasses, with a cheeky wink, the lyrical themes mentioned above.

The music is very much off-the-shelf dance floor beats and we can see Hallelujah doing well on Spotify and Karma is very Justin Timberlake.

Ironically big debut hit King was very Pet Shop Boys but the track Olly has recorded with the duo does not feature here.

We’re at Camden Roundhouse Tuesday for the Palo Santo launch party featuring MNEK and check out this site for all the gossip from it later in the week.

Palo Santo may have been a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait and should see Olly and co troubling the charts for a lot longer than seemed likely a while back.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Years & Years. Tickets
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