Choir of Young Believers | Rhine Gold

Ghostly International (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  March 21, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

On their jaw-dropping debut, 2008's This Is for the White in Your Eyes, Denmark's Choir of Young Believers sounded like an actual choir, or maybe a musical militia — angelic voices ascending in ghostly rings of reverb, enveloped by orchestral flourishes and indie-rock thrust. But it was mainly the work of one man: Copenhagen drifter Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, whose enormous vocal range was only dwarfed by the size of his heart. On Rhine Gold, Choir of Young Believers have blossomed into a legitimate seven-piece band— and with that additional muscle comes new ambition. This skillfully sculpted sophomore effort rarely sits in one stylistic spot for more than a given track. The note-perfect headphone pop of "Sedated" recalls Talk Talk via "It's My Life" with its choppy pianos, smoky bass, and thick layers of percussion. "Paralyse" sounds like kraut-rock legends Can post-Pro Tools, riding a two-note bassline amidst a swirl of psychedelic guitar drone. But for all its robust, pristinely recorded eclecticism, Rhine Gold holds together beautifully, thanks to Makrigiannis's angelic tenor, which soothes and stirs in equal measure. On the epic "Have I Ever Truly Been Here," his voice hovers above a nervous orchestral dissonance — a choir-boy sweetness stranded in a sea of pain.
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