Fricke's Picks: Choir of Young Believers' Spiritual Awakening


In the Danish band Choir of Young Believers, there are many singers. Half of the near-dozen members on This Is for the White in Your Eyes (Tigerspring), the group's European debut album, contribute backing vocals. But there is only one Voice: founding songwriter Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, who manages to sound utterly alone — singing in cold echo with the high, keening melancholy of the Zombies' Colin Blunstone and the Neil Young of "A Man Needs a Maid" — amid his slow-motion army of guitars, piano, strings and brass.

During a recent show at the Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, the Choir seemed to play without moving, like a studio-orchestra version of Arcade Fire; for showcraft, Makrigiannis would tip his head back, as if he was throwing high notes to the ceiling. But the movement that mattered was in the songs — the magnetic creep of the strings and the wordless-vocal fall in "These Rituals of Mine"; the subversive rapture of the chorus in "Next Summer"; the tundra-reverb harmonies glazing the hip-hop gait of "Action/Reaction." It was like hearing Radiohead's Thom Yorke in the middle of a Sixties Roy Orbison single, an effect Makrigiannis repeatedly achieves on the album, which is released here by Ghostly International on August 18th. Let the buzz begin.

[From Issue 1082-83, July 9-23, 2009]

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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