Cast your mind back to January 2015. You'd just broken all your resolutions in week 1. The weather was probably bad. And the music press unleashed their annual onslaught of "ones to watch this year" type features. But one thing was different about this year because in amongst all those lists, right towards the top end, fresh off a well received ep and a single peaking at number 22, was a small three-piece synth pop outfit known as Years & Years.
Cut to 6 months later, I'm crammed against a fence in front of the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival, among an audience so huge, it is spilling over the sides of the tent, as Years & Years tear through banger after banger to rapturous reception, the crowd singing along to both lyrics and synth riffs at an ear-splitting volume. Their debut album, Communion, would be released two weeks later, reaching number one after selling more than the rest of the top 5 combined.
Jump forward another 6 months and I am stood at the 20000 capacity O2 Arena watching the band play their huge number one single "King" at the Capital's Jingle Bell Ball with Coca Cola in front of a joyous crowd of all ages:
Years And Years - 'King' (Live At The Jingle Bell Ball 2015)
What a song.
Such has been the crazy, miraculous rise of Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen over the last 12 months. The success of the band may have seemed unlikely on paper, combining 90s dance elements with a modern lyrical spin and a distinctive high male vocal, but such is the musical climate of 2015 that they arrived at the perfect time. The level of nostalgia for the 90s has never been higher, as evidenced in everything from Jurassic World to "Uptown Funk", not to mention the quality of songwriting on display, helping them cut through to the heart of the mainstream, following up "King" with their number 2 single "Shine":
Years And Years - 'Shine' (Live At Capitals Jingle Bell Ball)
Such a tune.
2015 was also the year where, more than ever, social media ruled the game. I've written before about how bands like CHVRCHES appeal to their fan base by simply being "authentic humans" rather than endlessly polished pop statues. And nobody is more "authentic" than these guys.
When we chatted to them on the red carpet this weekend, they were having too much fun:
Excellent work all round.
Finally, in a year where there was debate and countless think pieces on where the next generation of festival headliners were coming from, Years & Years proved that new stadium worthy acts remain prevalent in this country. They began 2015 in clubs and return on tour next year to take on the arena circuit, headlining London's Wembley Arena in front of 12,500 people. It will probably look something like this:
Years And Years - 'Eyes Shut' (Live At The Jingle Bell Ball 2015)
Looks like next year might work out pretty well for them too.
Nice job boys. Happy New Year.