If Palo Santo, a wild tree native to Mexico, does, indeed, stave off bad energy, then Years & Years were wise to borrow from the holy stick as inspiration for their sophomore album, released Friday (July 6).
The electropop group, who accrued fans far and wide with 2015 debut album Communion, could cheer up a cadaver with their follow up — Palo Santo amounts to good vibes steeped in breezy grooves. Even when the album speaks to heartbreak or discord, diction is still zippy.
Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen proved with lead single “Sanctify” that they had a winning formula, and Palo Santo‘s additional ten tracks are as solid a collection of pop as pop collections come. Check out five must-listen tracks from Years & Years’ Palo Santo below:
“Hallelujah” — If an enlivening sermon isn’t enough to elicit such an exclamation, Track 2 off of Palo Santo certainly will. It’s the album’s clearest dance hit waiting to take flight, and a benchmark for pop’s crying-while dancing phenomenon. “I wanna dance ‘til I’m drunk on the feeling / Dance like it’s my my first / I wanna dance ‘til I speed up the healing,” Alexander sings with laser-precise, Gloria Estefan-type staccato.
“Hypnotised” — A whisper among bombast, “Hypnotised” finds Alexander’s vocals in tip-top shape, and prove stripped-down balladry is just as much his forte as any high-flying pop monster. “I had a dream of a ship that we sailed in the night / Such a sweet sweet call the siren soothes my mind / Who am I going to be when the curtain is drawn?” he croons over ice-delicate piano.
“Palo Santo” — A little eerie, a little cheery and steeped in mystery, the album’s title track gives the entire LP context. “Want me in an altered state / I’ve been sleeping with ghosts / And I swallow medication / You should know,” Alexander smolders over unexpected minor progressions and a classic tale of getting engrossed in the devil’s web.
“All for You” — Getting played for a fool has never sounded quite so appealing — “All for You,” a chirpy lamenting of a relationship tug-of-war, is still, somehow, as rosy as a prized bloom. “Kneeling at your temple, love was accidental / Singing bruises, I was foolish / Thinking I was careful, losing every battle / Singing bruises, I was foolish,” Alexander mourns.
“Karma” — The album’s fourth track offers up a generous helping of delicious synth: “Is there a dark before the dawn? / Is this a problem or solution? / No, I can’t tell what’s right or wrong / Is there a consequence for all I’ve done?” Alexander ponders with a slicked-out attitude befitting of a track on Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman.