Night Call may be the third studio album from Years & Years, but it’s the first of Olly Alexander’s solo career. Made over the course of the pandemic the record has been a long time coming, but Alexander is finally back in the club – and revelling in all that he’s missed.
The party gets kick-started with ‘Consequences’, before barrelling into the viral hit ‘Starstruck’. When the latter was released in April 2021, Alexander explained that music had become an outlet for all of his pent up energy, and the rest of his album is clearly no different; weaving hedonism with glimpses of vulnerability, it’s laced with irresistible dance beats and a clear sense that it’s Alexander at the helm.
The titular ‘Night Call’ – brimming with impatience and the standout line “no Sir, I do not have a guilty conscience” – is followed up by the remaining three singles, making for a powerhouse of a first half. “You’re a heartbreaker, you’ll be the death of me” Alexander sings on the latter, ‘Sooner Or Later’, which dropped as a surprise last week. “But I’m gonna break you, sooner or later”.
Admittedly, the album is pretty front-heavy. Although the second half doesn’t land as many punches, it does still deliver solid dance tunes on ‘Immaculate’ and ‘Muscle’, while ‘Make It Out Alive’ is conspicuous for its less than sunny lyrics. “If all I know is hurt, I’d rather be high,” Alexander admits, telling Zane Lowe in an interview that the song was from a much darker place where I was just [like], ‘Wow, things are really feeling a bit tough’.” On such a relentlessly upbeat record about nights out and hookups, it’s the insights like this that keep it from feeling one-note.
Like its maker, Night Call is proud, joyful, and impossible to dislike. If an album could grab you firmly by the wrist and drag you onto the dance floor, it would definitely be this one.