Years & Years – Palo Santo

Years & Years - Palo SantoOn their second album, Years & Years stick close to the sound they carved on their debut. Sonically seductive and lyrically sinful. They weave through morality and religion with sex and queerness so blissfully with irresistible and immediate melodies.

Palo Santo, also known as holy wood, is a tree that grows in South America that, when burned, released a fragrant smoke believed to contain healing powers. The album, when played, is therapeutic in how unapologetically gay it is, where gay themes are front and centre but it’s no big deal.

First single Sanctify dives into a sexual relationship with a man questioning his sexuality. Rendezvous, with its atmospheric layers, presents the intensity that comes with a blossoming physical relationship, and on Preacher, singer Olly Alexandre sings about the challenge of being with someone who isn’t ready to show their love publicly: “But you’re hiding, yeah, you’re hiding/You should come on out.”

While the album speaks to the young gay experience, there are more generalized themes throughout – such as the challenges of remaining friends with an ex on the bouncy If You’re Over Me, and dodging a bullet on Lucky Escape. Yet, it remains focused on life through the gay lens. Unlike many pop records by LGBT singers before, this one isn’t necessarily targeted at the masses. They’re welcome to enjoy of course, but primarily, it’s an album for a gay audience yearning to dance to their own story.

Five stars

Check Out: All For You, Up In Flames, Hallelujah

1. Sanctify
2. Hallelujah
3. All For You
4. Karma
5. Hypnotised
6. Rendezvous
7. If You’re Over Me
8. Preacher
9. Lucky Escape
10. Palo Santo
11. Here
12. Howl
13. Don’t Panic
14. Up In Flames

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