Communion is the debut studio album by British electronica trio Years & Years. It was released on 10 July 2015 through Polydor for the UK and other countries and Interscope Records for the USA only. In 2014, the group signed to Polydor Records. In January 2015, Years & Years won the prestigious BBC Sound of 2015. The trio were also nominated for the Critics Choice Award for the 2015 Brit Awards.
The album's title and release date was announced on 18 March 2015, when it was made available to pre-order on iTunes.
The album has received positive reviews. Communion received a score of 68 on Metacritic based on 18 professional reviews. In an enthusiastic review, AllMusic rated the album 4 out of 5 stars, highlighting the group’s ability to skillfully bridge the “ambient ’80s style synth-pop of M83 with the funky dancefloor grooves of Justin Timberlake” and transform their influences into something new. In another 4 out of 5 review, DIY praised singer Olly Alexander for managing to avoid cliché while tackling well-tread subjects such as heartbreak and loneliness, and remarks that the group adds a human touch to powerful pop anthems. Pitchfork, which rated the album a 7.4 out of 10, addressed potential critiques by remarking that while much of the album may seem familiar, Years & Years distills rather than dilutes the formula of "reimagined '80s and '90s club pop".
Multiple reviews, however, commented on the derivativeness of the songs with The Independent calling the album a “slick amalgamation of 2014’s sounds”. Alex Petridis of The Guardian wrote that the group doesn’t “seem to have an original idea in their collective heads”, but still acknowledged that the album’s “watertight” pop songwriting made it enjoyable. Jon Caramanca of The New York Times made a similar critique of the album, to which he referred as “diet-club music”, but again praised the songwriting as excellent and effective. In an overall positive review, Billboard noted that the group has a “skill set, not a sound”, particularly pointing out the album's strong melodies, emotional honesty and broad tastes. In mixed reviews, NME rated the album 4 out of 10 lamenting that the album had little to say and took no risks, while Drowned in Sound gave the album a 5 out of 10, writing that while many elements of the album were pleasant, overall it did not command listeners’ attention.
Communion debuted at number 1 in the United Kingdom, outselling the rest of the top 5 combined in its first week of release. In the United States, the album debuted at number 47 selling 8,841 copies in its first week.
Communion sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide and has taken up permanent residence in the UK top 20 – making it the fastest selling debut in 2015 from a UK signed band.
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