Perhaps the best thing about ‘Sanctify’ is the fact it suggests more.
There comes a point in ever pop group’s ascension to greatness, where they reach that one moment, an undeniable peak of excellence, where you sit back and go, right. This lot are truly special.
You could argue Years & Years already reached that level long ago but ‘Sanctify’, the first single from their long-awaited second album, is the clearest evidence yet. This is a statement; this is Years & Years marking their territory as pop kings.
The secret of Years & Years’ success is in the little details, the moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and those feelings are all over ‘Sanctify’ from the rippling, yearning desire of the verses to the huge, ecstatic chorus.
Lots of bands can attempt to sound like Years & Years, mining the same electronic path, but the band are blessed with something magical that makes them transcendent.
A large part of that magic is in their frontman Olly Alexander, a contemporary pop icon. Expanding on the debut album’s themes of sexual desire as a religious awakening, ‘Sanctify’ ramps up the subversion and tension, making the chorus all the more potent. It’s full of knowing lyrics and compelling touchstones. “I breathe the rituals of the dancer’s dance,” sings Olly, and you’re right there with him; you’re breathing it too.
Perhaps the best thing about ‘Sanctify’ is the fact it suggests more. It doesn’t give you everything all at once. That’s all to come. For now, though, we can revel in its glory. Martyn Young