The New Years & Years Album ‘Night Call’ Is Keeping Us On Our Feet and In Our Feels
The gay pop collective Years & Years is now basically the Olly Alexander show, though you wouldn’t know it by listening to their/his latest release, Night Call. The anonymous dance music and hi-def production is the same as on the group’s much-loved debut, Communion, and its lesser received follow-up, Palo Santo. The break with his bandmates, coupled with his acting accolades (for, specifically, the AIDS drama It’s a Sin), must have recharged his batteries. Night Call, a new Years & Years album but a solo album in everything but name, is classic, high-caliber pop that keeps you on your feet and in your feels simultaneously.
“All I wanted to make was uptempo music you could dance to in a club,” he has said. “A lot of the songs are about sex and hookups because it was something that was absent from my life. I was trying to manifest some physical contact and thinking about the past few years before lockdown. It’s not like I was having tons of sex, but I was having some sex.”
As its title suggests, Night Call is a carnal record, though it’s tinged with melancholy and the ongoing isolation of the past few years. He addresses it indirectly on the midtempo beauty “Make It Out Alive,” more love song than lockdown plaint, but the emotion that seeps through its shiny surface is redolent with missed connections and assignations.
Elsewhere, it’s one seductive ache after another. From the disco twerk of “Crave” to the minimal groove of the desirous “Muscle” to the light bondage daydream of “Intimacy,” you can practically smell the sweat of coupled bodies.
This new Years & Years project Night Call isn’t groundbreaking, and it doesn’t need to be. Alexander reminds us of the liberating power of club music and claiming our right to dance and fuck our blues away. But Night Call, coming at what feels like the beginning of the end of our shared global reboot, might be the first album to actually get you onto a local dance floor. Or to a dark, packed dungeon. Or back to yours where you get to liberate your inhibitions once again.